Book accuses food industry of influencing Mexican politics and science

Mexico.- An investigation has exposed the methods of the processed foods to influence Mexican politics and science, as documented by the new book “Feeding ourselves with doubts disguised as science: Nurturing conflicts of interest in Mexico”.

The authors of the book affirm, in an interview with Efe this Sunday, that in addition to alliances with politicians of the last decades, the companies “found accomplices” in research centers to obstruct measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 2002.

“Serious conflicts of interest were woven, but not only at the government level, but with researchers and health and nutrition professionals, and thus, many of them established links with the food and beverage industry, as if it were the most natural thing to do” , says Martha Elena García, co-author.

AN EPIDEMIC RELEVANCE

The book is published while Mexico it is the fourth country with the most deaths from covid-19, with more than 267,500, of which 44% had hypertension, more than a third had diabetes and one fifth obesity, according to official figures.
“The pandemic has been exposing that diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and the obesity and being overweight weakens the immune system, and that ultra-processed products are responsible for many of these conditions, “argues García.

The investigation It is also disseminated a year after the confrontation between the current Mexican Government and the food industry, which in Mexico has the tenth largest market in the world, with a value of 54,800 million dollars, cites the organization Food Export of the United States.

The official in charge of the pandemic in Mexico and undersecretary of Prevention and Health Promotion, Hugo López-Gatell, called soft drinks “bottled poison” and blamed the intake of processed foods for obesity and other comorbidities.

Industry representatives responded that the Government intends to “stigmatize” its products and “find a public enemy to hold responsible” for the health crisis of the pandemic.

A new label has been applied to junk food in order to warn of excess sugars and fats, however, this has been of little use. Focus: Cuartoscuro

MEASURES IN PAUSE

García maintains that the text exposes the “collusion between industry, government and health professionals” that stopped policies in Mexico, which ranks second in the world in terms of overweight and obesity, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Among these measures are the increase in the tax on soft drinks and sugary drinks, regulate the advertising of food for children, the frontal labeling of food, and the prohibition of junk food in schools, states Guillermo Bermúdez, the other author of the book.

“One of the main conclusions is that the industry has everything well established, how to react to each of the measures to prevent, block, minimize and delay, if infinitely possible, all the public policies that they want to do to regulate it”, he asserts.

The researcher acknowledges that the current government has implemented the new food labeling, which is about to turn one year into force in October with measures that require the placement of black octagons that warn of excess sugar, calories, fat and sodium in prepackaged products.

Even so, he regrets that no progress yet in other areas.

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“There is a set of measures that have been wanted to implement for a long time. What has been forged so far? A paradigm shift is seen, but in reality so far we have only seen the new labeling,” he mentions.

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