The Department of Health is putting the fast food companies McDonald’s and KFC and processed food and drink manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Kellogg’s, Unilever, Mars and Diageo at the heart of writing government policy on obesity, alcohol and diet-related disease, the Guardian has learned.
It’s like putting Phillip Morris (sorry! — Altria) in charge of tobacco cessation:
In an overhaul of public health, said by campaign groups to be the equivalent of handing smoking policy over to the tobacco industry, health secretary Andrew Lansley has set up five “responsibility deal” networks with business, co-chaired by ministers, to come up with policies. Some of these are expected to be used in the public health white paper due in the next month.
They are really quite shameless in who they’ve put in charge of each group:
The groups are dominated by food and alcohol industry members, who have been invited to suggest measures to tackle public health crises. Working alongside them are public interest health and consumer groups including Which?, Cancer Research UK and the Faculty of Public Health. The alcohol responsibility deal network is chaired by the head of the lobby group the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. The food network to tackle diet and health problems includes processed food manufacturers, fast food companies, and Compass, the catering company famously pilloried by Jamie Oliver for its school menus of turkey twizzlers. The food deal’s sub-group on calories is chaired by PepsiCo, owner of Walkers crisps.
Turkey twizzlers — there’s an item I don’t even think I’ll Google. But who knows better than the pusher how to explain the addiction?
Perhaps Michelle Obama can put Paula Deen in charge of getting people to cut back on “boottah and oirl?” Or the Colonel can get us to reduce our intake of sandwiches with fried chicken breasts instead of bread? I bet Bill Cosby has something to add about too much pudding. Or that little chihuahua can tell tell us all about the XXL Chalupa!
The fox isn’t guarding the henhouse anymore; corporate foxes have outsourced the hens, leased the henhouse in an interest rate swap to Dubai, collateralized the egg stream in a CDO with Singapore traders, and re-hired the egglayers into at-will employment.
Are we doomed?