Global food and drink companies are using techniques pioneered by the tobacco industry to undermine public-health policies designed to combat obesity, diabetes and alcohol-related illnesses, a new study claims.
Multinational firms have distorted research findings, paid large sums to build relationships with health bodies and lobbied governments to block health regulations, according to the paper published in medical journal 'The Lancet'.
The study, led by Professor Rob Moodie, of the University of Melbourne in Australia, also details the grip that trans-national corporations such as Kraft, Nestle, Mars and Unilever have on global food markets in the developed world and their increasing reliance on low-income countries for continued growth.
The 10 largest companies now control more than 15pc of all food sales – three-quarters of which are made up of highly processed foods such as frozen pizza, burgers and fizzy drinks.
The study team concluded that the only way to achieve the United Nations' goal of halving the mortality rate for diseases caused by tobacco, alcohol and poor diet was through greater regulation.