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A narrative review of regulatory governance factors that shape food and nutrition policies

Jun 02, 2021

Food composition, marketing restrictions, nutrition labeling, and taxation policies are recommended for preventing diet-related noncommunicable diseases. In view of the increasing but variable adoption of food policies globally, this narrative review examines the actors, regulatory frameworks, and institutional contexts that shape the development, design, and implementation of these policies. We found a diverse range of actors using various strategies, including advocacy, framing, and evidence generation to influence policy agendas. We identified diverse regulatory designs used in the formulation and implementation of the policies: command and control state regulation for taxes and menu labels, quasi-regulation for sodium reformulation, and co-regulation and industry self-regulation for food marketing policies. Quasi-regulation and industry self-regulation are critiqued for their voluntary nature, lack of independence from the industry, and absence of (or poor) monitoring and enforcement systems. The policy instrument design and implementation best practices highlighted in this review include clear policy goals and rigorous standards that are adequately monitored and enforced. Future research should examine how these combinations of regulatory governance factors influence policy outcomes.

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