The Top of the Food Chain: A Transnational Food Company's Involvement in Public Health and Humanitarian Relief in Europe and West Africa, 1930-1970
15 Jun 2017, 17:30 to 15 Jun 2017, 19:30
Food History Seminar
IHR Wolfson Room NB02, Basement, IHR, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Lola Wilhelm , The Graduate Institute, Geneva
In the wake of the baby milk scandal of the 1970s and of the ensuing boycott against manufacturers, scholars and activists have scrutinised the impacts of the corporate food sector on nutrition and health policies in the developing world. The coverage of this event, however, has tended to overshadow the longer-term, more nuanced history of relationships between the food industry on the one hand, and State agencies, humanitarian aid groups, and international organisations on the other. In this presentation, I propose to explore how and why, starting in inter-war Switzerland and France and continuing in the colonial and then postcolonial space of French West Africa, the multinational food company Nestlé engaged with public authorities in charge of food and health policies, with NGOs, and with technical and expert communities within specialised international agencies; and how these relationships contributed to shaping scientific research, public discourses, and programmes in the field of food and health.
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