The Food Policy Research Group carries out social science research on a range of issues related to food production, processing, distribution and consumption in local and global food systems.
Our research addresses policy issues, power relations and the governance of food systems. Themes include food security; nutrition and health; environmental sustainability; food production and processing technologies; animal welfare; food labelling and marketing; and local and regional food systems.
Research group contact information
Name: Dr Gyorgy Scrinis
Title: Senior lecturer in Food Politics and Policy
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPhone: +03 9035 6698
Faculty: Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne
Sophie Lamond, PhD Student
Jennifer Lacy-Nicholls, PhD student.
Topic: ‘Beverage corporations’ responses to health concerns about sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia’.
Lilly Cleary, PhD – Completed 2016
Topic: ‘Desperately seeking certainty: The problem (and solution) of trust in alternative systems of food provisioning’
Governing Food Labelling: The Case of ‘Free Range’ Animal Products in Australia
Description: The food label has become an important site of contestation and controversy with respect to a range of health, safety, environmental and ethical issues across the food system. This project will examine the regulation of food labeling in Australia through a focus on free range labelled eggs and animal products. It will shed light on the dynamics of how a network of food producers, retailers, private certification organisations, and regulatory agencies are responding to changing demands for ethical and quality foods. The project will develop new strategies for a more effective, legitimate and stakeholder-inclusive approach to regulating food labels.
- Chief Investigators: Professor Christine Parker (Law) and Dr Gyorgy Scrinis (FVAS).
- Research Fellow: Dr Rachel Carey (FVAS).
- Funding: ARC Discovery Grant (2015-2017).
Ultraprocessed food consumption, nutritional profile of diet and obesity in seven countries
Description: This project will study of food consumption patterns and health outcomes in seven countries - (Brazil, Chile, Columbia, United States, Canada, U.K, and Australia.
- Investigators: Monteiro, C. (University of Sao Paolo, Brazil), Jaime, P., Levy, R. Co-Investigators: De Barros, A., Martins, A., Horta, B., Corvalan, C., Azeredo, C., Millett, C., Canella, D., Gigante, D., Parra, D., Scrinis, G., Santos, I., Moubarac, J.C., Batal, M., Reyes, M., Assuncao, M., Benicio, M., Claro, F., Uauy, R., De Vogli, R.
- Funding: FAPESP Project Grant (2016-2021) - (Brazil)
Strengthening the Evidence Foundation for Public Health Guidelines
Description: This project will measure the influence of bias at all stages in nutrition research in order to improve the evaluation of this research and the evidence base for dietary guidance.
- Chief Investigators: Lisa Bero (University of Sydney), Margaret Allman-Farinelli, Mark Lawrence, Gyorgy Scrinis, Joanne McKenzie, Fabian Helf, Tim Gill, Louise Baur, Marion Nestle (NYU), David Raubenheimer.
- Funding: NHMRC Project Grant 2018-2020
Foodprint Melbourne: Roadmap for a resilient city foodbowl
Description: This project aims to strengthen the resilience of Melbourne’s city fringe foodbowl and contribute to the city’s long term food security in the face of pressures from climate change and declining supplies of the natural resources that underpin food production. The project team will collaborate with a broad range of stakeholders to develop a shared vision for a resilient and sustainable city foodbowl and a roadmap of potential strategies to achieve this vision. This is the second stage of the Foodprint Melbourne project. It builds on the evidence base generated during the first stage of the project about the importance of fresh food production on Melbourne’s fringe to the city’s future food security. Foodprint Melbourne is a cross-faculty research project in conjunction with researchers Jen Sheridan and Kirsten Larsen in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning. Project partners include the City of Melbourne, the Interface Councils, the Peri-Urban Group of Rural Councils, Wyndham City, Mornington Peninsula Shire, Cardinia Shire and Lead West.
- Chief investigator: Dr Rachel Carey
- Funding: Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (2017 – 2019)
Teaching Foodprint Melbourne
Description: This project will make the findings of the Foodprint Melbourne research available to geography teachers and students in secondary schools. The Foodprint Melbourne research team is working with the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria to develop a set of curriculum resources based on the project findings to support teaching of Biomes and food security, a Year 9 Geography unit in the Australian and Victorian curriculum. The resources include student worksheets, data sets, infographics, GIS maps and videos.
- Chief investigator: Dr Rachel Carey
- Funding: Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (2017 – 2018)
Scrinis, G. & Monteiro, C. A. (2017) ‘Ultra-processed foods and the limits of product reformulation’. Public Health Nutr, 1-6.
Scrinis, G., Parker, C., & Carey, R. (2017). ‘The Caged Chicken or the Free-Range Egg? The Regulatory and Market Dynamics of Layer-Hen Welfare in the UK, Australia and the USA’. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 30 (5), 783-808.
Clapp, J. & Scrinis, G. (2017) ‘Big Food, Nutritionism, and Corporate Power’. Globalizations, 14(4), 578-595.
Carey, R., Parker, C. & Scrinis, G. (2017) ‘Capturing the meaning of “free range”: The contest between producers, supermarkets and consumers for the higher welfare egg label in Australia’. Journal of Rural Studies, 54, 266-275.
Parker, C., Carey, R., De Costa, J. & Scrinis, G. (2017) ‘Can the hidden hand of the market be an effective and legitimate regulator? The case of animal welfare under a labeling for consumer choice policy approach’. Regulation & Governance, 11: 4, 368-387.
Fabbri, A., Chartres, N., Scrinis, G. & Bero, L. A. (2017) ‘Study sponsorship and the nutrition research agenda: analysis of randomized controlled trials included in systematic reviews of nutrition interventions to address obesity’. Public Health Nutr, 20(7), 1306-1313.
Scrinis, G. (2016) ‘Reformulation, fortification and functionalization: Big Food corporations’ nutritional engineering and marketing strategies’. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 43(1), 17-37.
Scrinis, G., and Christine Parker (2016) ‘Front-of-Pack Food Labelling and the Politics of Nutritional Nudges’, Law and Policy, 38, 234-249.
Carey, R., Caraher, M., Lawrence, M. and Friel, S. (2016) ‘Opportunities and challenges in developing a whole-of-government national food and nutrition policy: Lessons from Australia’s National Food Plan’. Public Health Nutrition. 19: 3-14.
Buxton, M., Carey, R., Phelan, K. (2016) ‘The role of peri-urban land use planning in resilient urban food systems: a case study of Melbourne’ in Maheshwari et al eds, Balanced Urban Development: Options and Strategies for Liveable Cities, Springer.
Scrinis, G. (2015), ‘Big Food corporations and the nutritional marketing and regulation of processed foods’, Canadian Food Studies.2 (2):136-145.
Santhanam-Martin, et al ‘Community sustainability and agricultural landscape change: insights into the durability and vulnerability of the productivist regime’, Sustainability Science, 10.
Parker, C., & Scrinis, G. (2014). ‘Out of the cage and into the barn: supermarket power food system governance and the regulation of free range eggs’, Griffith Law Review, 23(2), 318-347.
Scrinis, G. (2014). ‘On the Ideology of Nutritionism’. In J. Pilcher (Ed.), Food History: Critical and Primary Sources (Vol. 4,). London: Bloomsbury, p. 405-421.
Santhanam-Martin, M. & Nettle, R. (2014) ‘Governing Australias Dairy Farm Workforce: A New Terrain for Negotiating Rural Community Sustainability’, International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food, 21.
Scrinis, G. (2013), Nutritionism: The Science and Politics of Dietary Advice, New York: Columbia University Press.
Scrinis, G. (2013), ‘The Nutricentric Person’, in Doing Nutrition Differently: Critical Approaches to Dietary Intervention, ed. J. Hayes-Conroy. Ashgate.
Scrinis, G. (2012), ‘Nutritionism and Functional Foods’, in The Philosophy of Food, ed. David Kaplan, University of California Press.
Scrinis, G. & Lyons, K., (2012) ‘Nanotechnology, Functional Foods, and Nutritional Reductionism’, in Innovation in Healthy and Functional Foods, ed. Dilip Ghosh, CRC Press.
The Food Policy Research Group staff coordinate three graduate subjects in the area of food politics and policy:
- The Politics of Food
- Nutrition Politics and Policy
- Sustainable Food: Policy and Practice
This sub-program in food politics and policy is offered within Masters courses taught by the School of Agriculture and Food, but also within a range of Masters courses across the University, including the Masters of Environment; Public Health; International Relations; Development Studies, Public Policy and Management, Urban Planning, and Urban Horticulture.
FOOD90026: The Politics of Food
This subject examines the politics of the global food system, and will focus on the policies, structures, power relations and political debates surrounding the production, distribution and consumption of food.
- Food policy and governance at the global, national and local levels
- Food security, food sovereignty and the Global Food Crisis
- Global trading relations, free trade and fair trade
- Environmental impacts and sustainable forms of food production and consumption
- Animal production, factory farms and animal welfare
- Supermarkets and alternative retailing and distribution networks
- Agricultural paradigms and technologies: chemical-industrial agriculture, genetically modified foods, organic agriculture and agroecology
- Corporate concentration within and across sectors of the food system
- Competition for food and land: animal feed, biofuels and land-grabbing
- Food processing, food marketing, dietary advice and health
- Local and urban food production and planning
- Alternative paradigms and networks of food production, distribution and consumption
FOOD90027: Nutrition Politics and Policy
This subject critically examines the scientific, policy and political debates regarding the relationship between food, nutrition and health.
- The science and politics of formulating dietary guidelines, nutritional reductionism in nutrition research, and debates over definitions of healthy and unhealthy foods
- Changing dietary patterns, the nutrition transition, food security, the “obesity epidemic”, and other health outcomes
- The socio-economic, commercial and environmental influences on food choices and dietary patterns
- The production, nutritional quality, marketing and consumption of highly processed foods and beverages
- Food industry strategies for food reformulation, and the development and marketing of fortified and functional foods
- Food labelling, and nutrient and health claims regulations
- The use of nutritionally-enhanced crops and fortified micronutrient deficiencies
- Dietary guidelines and choices to create ecologically sustainable food systems
- Policy approaches to regulating food quality, food consumption, food marketing, and food industry practices.
FOOD90033: Sustainable Food: Policy and Practice
This subject critically examines the policies, practices and challenges of creating more environmentally sustainable systems of food production, distribution and consumption.
- Sustainable food system policies and planning
- Sustainable agricultural practices
- Sustainable intensification: from high-tech innovations and efficiencies to low-input practices
- Sustainable livestock production and consumption
- Farm animal welfare regulations and labelling
- Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture
- The environmental impacts of food distribution, food miles, food manufacturing and convenience food production and packaging
- Food waste across the supply chain: structural causes and remedies
- Food standards, certification and labelling of sustainably and ethically sourced foods
- Sustainable food consumption practices
CAN FOOD LABELLING HELP CREATE MORE SUSTAINABLE FOOD SYSTEMS?
What role can labelling play in creating more sustainable food systems? What kinds of labelling would enable consumers and producers to support environmentally sustainable and ethical practices of food production and consumption? Food journalist and author Richard Cornish in conversation with a panel of experts, who will explore this question through case studies of food labelling for sustainably sourced fish, free range animal products and products containing palm oil: Prof. Christine Parker (University of Melbourne), Katinka Day (Choice), Dr Kate Macdonald (University of Melbourne), Dr Kate Johnson (Sustainable Fish Lab).
Soda Politics: Food and Health Advocacy in Action, By Marion Nestle
In this University of Melbourne Free Public Lecture, nutrition and public health expert Professor Marion Nestle examines how lessons learned from soda advocacy are applicable to advocacy for additional aspects of healthier and more sustainable food systems.
This lecture was part of the Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences’ 2016 Dean’s Lecture Series, delivered in Melbourne on 24 February 2016.
Professor Amy J. Cohen, Professor of Law, Ohio State University.
Title: “Everything is Not about Convenience”: State, Family, and Supermarket in Middle-Class West Bengal.