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What do we know and what should we know? an analysis of the corporate political activity of the food industry in three South American countries

Grant number: 17/24744-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): June 01, 2018
Effective date (End): May 31, 2020
Field of knowledge:Health Sciences - Nutrition
Principal Investigator:Fernanda Baeza Scagliusi
Grantee:Melissa Amina Madeleine Cavallo Mialon
Home Institution: Faculdade de Saúde Pública (FSP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/14900-9 - Consumption of ultra-processed foods, dietary nutrient profile diet and obesity in seven countries, AP.TEM


Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which include diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases and cancers, are a leading cause of mortality globally. Unhealthy diets, particularly those high in ultra-processed food products, are one of the primary risks factors for NCDs, along with harmful drinking, smoking, and a lack of physical activity. Policies that would improve the healthiness of food environments have yet to be adopted in most countries, despites their likely effectiveness. One of the key barriers to this implementation is the influence, also known as corporate political activity (CPA), exerted by the food, alcohol and tobacco industries. The CPA of the food industry comprises six long term strategies adopted by the food industry to influence public policies and public opinion in ways favorable to the firms, most of which were also used by the tobacco industry: the information and messaging strategy; the financial incentive strategies; the constituency building strategy; the policy substitution strategy; the legal strategies; the opposition fragmentation and destabilization. The main aim of this post-doctoral project is to identify the CPA of the food industry in Brazil, Colombia and Chile, over a 2-years period. This research will consist in a step-by-step document analysis of publicly available information, triangulated with interviews with key informants inside and outside the food industry with a public health and nutrition expertise in Brazil, Colombia and Chile. This project will contribute to the FAPESP thematic project entitled "Consumption of ultra-processed foods, dietary nutrient profile diet and obesity in seven countries", being conducted by NUPENS, and which include Brazil, Chile and Colombia. This research will also contribute to, and be based on methods developed by, INFORMAS (International Network for Food and Obesity/Non-communicable Diseases Research, Monitoring and Action Support)(1), which aim is to monitor food environments. It will inform policy makers, public health advocates and the public about areas of possible improvement in policies and infrastructure support to improve the healthiness of food environments of the studied countries, and about practices that could undermine efforts to develop and implement these policies.

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
MIALON, MELISSA; GOMES, FABIO DA SILVA. Public health and the ultra-processed food and drink products industry: corporate political activity of major transnationals in Latin America and the Caribbean. PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION, v. 22, n. 10, p. 1898-1908, JUL 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.
MIALON, MELISSA; MIALON, JONATHAN; ANDRADE, GIOVANNA CALIXTO; JEAN-CLAUDE, MOUBARAC. `We must have a sufficient level of profitability': food industry submissions to the French parliamentary inquiry on industrial food. CRITICAL PUBLIC HEALTH, APR 2019. Web of Science Citations: 0.
MIALON, MELISSA; MIALON, JONATHAN. Analysis of corporate political activity strategies of the food industry: evidence from France. PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION, v. 21, n. 18, p. 3407-3421, DEC 2018. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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