The food industry and self-regulation: standards to promote success and to avoid public health failures

Am J Public Health. 2010 Feb;100(2):240-6. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.160960. Epub 2009 Dec 17.


Threatened by possible government regulation and critical public opinion, industries often undertake self-regulatory actions, issue statements of concern for public welfare, and assert that self-regulation is sufficient to protect the public. The food industry has made highly visible pledges to curtail children's food marketing, sell fewer unhealthy products in schools, and label foods in responsible ways. Ceding regulation to industry carries opportunities but is highly risky. In some industries (e.g., tobacco), self-regulation has been an abject failure, but in others (e.g., forestry and marine fisheries), it has been more successful. We examined food industry self-regulation in the context of other self-regulatory successes and failures and defined 8 standards that should be met if self-regulation is to be effective.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Advertising / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Alcoholic Beverages
  • Child
  • Child Welfare
  • Fisheries / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Food Industry / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Food Services / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Forestry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Motivation
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Social Control, Informal*
  • Tobacco Industry / legislation & jurisprudence
  • United States