PLoS Medicine has launched a three-week series examining "Big Food," the major food and beverage companies that influence consumption behavior globally, and this industry's role in health.
An editorial details the nature of the series:
The PLoS Medicine series on Big Food is a “sampler,” offering perspectives on select topics relevant to how the food industry operates in health. In this first week the guest editors lay out a background and three competing views of how public health professionals can respond….In subsequent weeks we will publish analyses of the rapid rise of Big Food sales in developing countries, an essay on food sovereignty and who holds power over food, and two perspectives from South America and Africa on the displacement of traditional diets by the incursion of multinational food companies.
In an essay kicking off the series, guest editors David Stuckler, MPH, PhD, and Marion Nestle, MPH, PhD, emphasize the complexity of the global food system and the problematic concurrence of obesity and starvation that has resulted. Illustrating the difficulty of reforming practices surrounding the consumption and distribution of food, which is necessary to survival, as opposed to tobacco or alcohol, which are not, Stuckler and Nestle point to what can be learned from the operations of Big Tobacco and argue for possible solutions for the slipperier problem of food and beverage.
Previously: What’s being done about the way tobacco companies market and manufacture products, Better school lunches – in China and A call for understandable information on food labels