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Analysis of the corporate political activity of major food industry actors in Fiji

Mialon, Melissa, Swinburn, Boyd, Wate, Jillian, Tukana, Isimeli and Sacks, Gary 2016, Analysis of the corporate political activity of major food industry actors in Fiji, Globalization and health, vol. 12, Article number : 18, pp. 1-14, doi: 10.1186/s12992-016-0158-8.

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Title Analysis of the corporate political activity of major food industry actors in Fiji
Author(s) Mialon, Melissa
Swinburn, Boyd
Wate, Jillian
Tukana, Isimeli
Sacks, GaryORCID iD for Sacks, Gary orcid.org/0000-0001-9736-1539
Journal name Globalization and health
Volume number 12
Season Article number : 18
Start page 1
End page 14
Total pages 14
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 1744-8603
Keyword(s) policy
food industry
corporate political activity
non-communicable diseases
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Public, Environmental & Occupational Health
Summary BACKGROUND: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of mortality in Fiji, a middle-income country in the Pacific. Some food products processed sold and marketed by the food industry are major contributors to the NCD epidemic, and the food industry is widely identified as having strong economic and political power. However, little research has been undertaken on the attempts by the food industry to influence public health-related policies and programs in its favour. The "corporate political activity" (CPA) of the food industry includes six strategies (information and messaging; financial incentives; constituency building; legal strategies; policy substitution; opposition fragmentation and destabilisation). For this study, we aimed to gain a detailed understanding of the CPA strategies and practices of major food industry actors in Fiji, interpreted through a public health lens.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We implemented a systematic approach to monitor the CPA of the food industry in Fiji for three months. It consisted of document analysis of relevant publicly available information. In parallel, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 10 stakeholders involved in diet- and/or public health-related issues in Fiji. Both components of the study were thematically analysed. We found evidence that the food industry adopted a diverse range of strategies in an attempt to influence public policy in Fiji, with all six CPA strategies identified. Participants identified that there is a substantial risk that the widespread CPA of the food industry could undermine efforts to address NCDs in Fiji.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite limited public disclosure of information, such as data related to food industry donations to political parties and lobbying, we were able to identify many CPA practices used by the food industry in Fiji. Greater transparency from the food industry and the government would help strengthen efforts to increase their accountability and support NCD prevention. In other low- and middle-income countries, it is likely that a systematic document analysis approach would also need to be supplemented with key informant interviews to gain insight into this important influence on NCD prevention.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/s12992-016-0158-8
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
1117 Public Health And Health Services
Socio Economic Objective 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30084746

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.