Tuesday, September 24, 2019

"A Shadowy Industry Group Shapes Food Policy Around the World"

I knew it!!
The International Parsley Cartel is REAL.

Restaurants don't put those green bits on your plate voluntarily.

From the New York Times, September 17:
When the Indian government bowed to powerful food companies last year and postponed its decision to put red warning labels on unhealthy packaged food, officials also sought to placate critics of the delay by creating an expert panel to review the proposed labelling system, which would have gone far beyond what other countries have done in the battle to combat soaring obesity rates.

But the man chosen to head the three-person committee, Dr Boindala Sesikeran, a veteran nutritionist and former adviser to Nestle, only further enraged health advocates.

That’s because Sesikeran is a trustee of the International Life Sciences Institute, a US non-profit with an innocuous sounding name that has been quietly infiltrating government health and nutrition bodies around the world.

Created four decades ago by a top Coca-Cola executive, the institute now has branches in 18 countries. It is almost entirely funded by Goliaths of the agribusiness, food and pharmaceutical industries.

The organisation, which championed tobacco interests during the 1980s and 1990s in Europe and the United States, has more recently expanded its activities in Asia and Latin America, regions that provide a growing share of food company profits. It has been especially active in China, India and Brazil, the world’s first, second and sixth most populous nations.

In China, the institute shares both staff and office space with the agency responsible for combating the country’s epidemic of obesity-related illness. In Brazil, ILSI representatives occupy seats on a number of food and nutrition panels that were previously reserved for university researchers.
And in India, Sesikeran’s leadership role on the food labelling committee has raised questions about whether regulators will ultimately be swayed by processed food manufacturers who say the red warning labels would hurt sales.

“What could possibly go wrong?” Amit Srivastava, the coordinator of the advocacy group India Resource Centre, asked sarcastically. “To have a covert food lobby group deciding public health policy is wrong and a blatant conflict of interest.”

The organisation rejects allegations that it works to advance the interests of its corporate members. “Under no circumstance does ILSI protect industry from being affected by disadvantageous policy and laws,” the group said in a statement.

After decades largely operating under the radar, ILSI is coming under increasing scrutiny by health advocates in the United States and abroad who say it is little more than a front group advancing the interests of the 400 corporate members that provide its $17 million budget, among them Coca-Cola, DuPont, PepsiCo, General Mills and Danone.

Last year, the candy maker Mars withdrew from ILSI, saying it could no longer support an organisation that funds what a Mars executive described as “advocacy-led studies.” In 2015, ILSI lost its special access to governing bodies at the World Health Organisation after critics raised questions about its industry ties....MUCH MORE
The story wasn't about the parsley pushers.
I guess that just goes to show how strong their code of omertà truly is.
Yeah, that's the ticket.

See also:
The Sicilian Mafia and the International Lemon Cartel