FoodChallenge Corporate Abuse of Our Food
Nurturing Health Through Sound Food Policy
Effective food policy can do a lot to fix the damage caused by the fast food industry. It can help:
- Create a food environment that nourishes – rather than harms – our children.
- Promote healthful alternatives to fast food.
- Make space for farmers markets, urban farms, and other forms of local agriculture to thrive.
Just like Big Tobacco, Big Food exports its abuses and the resulting human and environmental tolls to Global South countries. In the past 20 years, obesity rates have doubled in low-income countries, and it's no surprise that this epidemic mirrors the rapid expansion of the fast food industry. We must secure strong global standards to protect health and promote a more sustainable food system across the globe.
Ten years ago, by forging strong partnerships with allies around the world, we helped secure the adoption of the global tobacco treaty -- the world's first public health and corporate accountability treaty. Now, we are partnering with non-governmental organizations and government allies around the world to advance international food policy that counters Big Food's aggressive marketing and global reach.
So far, Corporate Accountability International, through our official status as an NGO at the World Health Organization (WHO), has been instrumental in developing a set of marketing recommendations that will protect all children from predatory junk food advertising.
And we continue to work with the WHO, its member states, and our international allies to implement the recommendations in countries around the world.
More than any other federal policy, the U.S. Farm Bill guides the way our food is grown and produced.
It also affects a whole range of other practices and policies related to the food system, including food assistance, safety, and nutrition. In short, the Farm Bill's wide reach impacts trade, the environment, social programs, and the livelihoods of many rural communities.
So it's no surprise global corporations have hijacked the Farm Bill through lobbying, junk science, political spending, and more. Big Ag is seeking to better its bottom line at the expense of family farms, the environment, and public health.
We work with allied organizations to advocate for a fair Farm Bill that is free of corporate interference. Such a bill would:
- Create fair markets for agricultural products.
- Increase access to healthy foods.
- Promote sustainable farming practices that protect the environment.
Communities can take concrete steps to reduce the negative effects of fast food and its ubiquitous marketing.
To empower local action, we have released “Slowing Down Fast Food: A Policy Guide for Healthier Kids and Families” in partnership with City University of New York’s School of Public Health.
It focuses on key food policy approaches, offering case studies like the following:
- St. Paul’s public school district rid its halls and cafeterias of fast food and its marketing.
- An indefinite moratorium on fast-food outlets in south and southeast Los Angeles, the city's lowest-income neighborhoods, means residents are actively pursuing healthful alternatives like food co-ops and community gardens.
- Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, TX threw out McDonald's and brought in a smaller restaurant chain with more nourishing fare.
- San Francisco passed a groundbreaking ordinance curbing predatory marketing to kids by focusing on the toy giveaways. Its impact is reaching well beyond the Bay Area, inspiring countries such as Chile to outlaw toys in kids' meals.