According to a new study ‘Corporate political activity of the dairy industry in France: an analysis of publicly available information’, the political strategies used by the dairy industry in France have the potential to hinder the development and implementation of effective public health policies, particularly the dietary guidelines, based on international scientific evidence. The study was published in the journal Public Health Nutrition.

One of the co-authors, Dr Mialon, explains “there is evidence, in the literature, that these strategies could be used by the industry to protect its activities while promoting a positive image among the public.”

One of the main strategies of the dairy industry in France is their influence on science. “The shaping of scientific evidence by the dairy industry, through its funding of research centers and researchers, or its participation in national nutrition conferences, can be problematic since the main objective of the industry is to increase its profits,” according to Dr. Mialon.

She also explains that, although all of these strategies are perfectly legal, it is important to question the relationships between the dairy industry, or the food industry more broadly, and the government, but also with health professionals and researchers. Transparency, for example through the declarations of interest of politicians, is a first step for the protection of institutions and their employees. This could be extended to universities and researchers.

The study is available in English: Mialon, M and Mialon, J. “Corporate political activity of the dairy industry in France: an analysis of publicly available information”. Public Health Nutrition. 2017.

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