5181.0 Food, Fairness and Health II: Occupy Agriculture – Corporate Power, Equity and the Food System

Wednesday, October 31, 2012: 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Purpose: To equip public health professionals with an awareness of the fact of corporate influence, as well as the specific strategies employed by corporations, so as to better inform public health practice and advocacy around healthy food and just food systems. Relevance: Public health science around tobacco control and environmental health are now replete with examples of corporate influence and control over regulation and policymaking. The food environment is no exception. Public health depends in part on healthy food, and clean air and water in the environments where agriculture occurs. Science and public policies supporting these preconditions for public health, can run directly contrary to the aims of corporations mandated by their corporate charters to maximize profits and shareholder return -- and not to promote public health. As a nation, we do enjoy environmental health and safety regulations on the books that exist to protect the public’s health interests. Agribusiness influence on these processes, however, can weaken regulation and enforcement. Compounding the problem of regulatory capture is the fact that corporations also influence research universities and non-profit organizations relied upon to create the scientific bases for public health policy can also be influenced by corporations. Disparities in race, income, environment and economic and political power often comprise the “social determinants” that drive differences in health. Corporate power and influence often lie on the other side of that unhealthy divide from communities of color. Cooptation of the public health profession by a corporate-government alliance undermines our ability to contribute to the basic goals of public health. To change this, public health must develop closer ties to movements for environmental justice and for food justice.
Session Objectives: 1. Explain the rationale for why to better serve public health goals, the public health profession ought to be forming closer ties to food justice and environmental justice communities and movements; 2. List three strategies employed by corporations to manipulate science and research across tobacco, chemical and other industries; and 3. Explain what the convenience food industry stands to gain from the SNAP program in the Farm Bill remaining unchanged.
David Wallinga, MD, MPA
Steve Wing, PhD

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Food and Nutrition
Endorsed by: Socialist Caucus, Asian Pacific Islander Caucus for Public Health

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH) , Masters Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES)

See more of: Food and Nutrition