Take on Big Food to improve malnutrition and environment

A commission of experts have published in The Lancet that the way to really tackle obesity, undernutrition, diet related illnesses and climate change is to take on the food and drink industry in a similar way to the approach taken for tobacco.

Packet of crisps. Photo credit: Pexels

Packet of crisps. Photo credit: Pexels

Writing in the medical journal The Lancet the commission calls for a UN treaty which would ban food and drink industry’s place at the table when discussing ways to improve public health. This treaty would be similar to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in which the tobacco industry is not allowed to take part in negotiations.

The commission also propose a £760m fund for civil society organisations that want to press for sugar taxes and other measures to improve diets.

The food and drink industry has enormous power and the money to exert pressure on governments. In an interview with The Guardian one of the commissioners - Tim Lobstein of the World Obesity Federation - pointed out that in the US Congress there are 294 lobbyists from food and drink companies, more than from either the tobacco or alcohol industries:

“Of that, two-thirds are former Congress staff, so they know what they are doing. That level of lobbying is devoted to preserving the status quo. It is a major barrier to change and must be challenged.”

Better Food Britain


mailing list

Better Food Britain: We want everyone to be able to enjoy food that is good for our health, produced in a way that supports good livelihoods, reduced waste and greenhouse gas emissions, high animal welfare and restoration of nature. Find out how.

The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

0203 5596 777

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.

© Sustain 2019
Registered charity (no. 1018643)
Site map
Data privacy & cookies