World Sugar Research Organisation
The World Sugar Research Organisation is the international lobbying arm of the sugar industry.
In 1996 and 1997 it ran a campaign to manipulate science and to fix the results of WHO/FAO expert reports . This was done in conjuction with the International Life Sciences Institute. With members from literally hundreds of food industry TNCs this is a key food industry lobby group. It was set up by and is funded by Coca Cola amongst others and pursues their interests on a global stage.
Libelling John Yudkin
- In the year or two after the UK publication of Pure, White and Deadly, the book was translated into Finnish, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese and Swedish. By 1979 it clearly needed updating, since there had been quite a number of new discoveries about the effects of sugar. Although the publishers were pressing me to produce a new edition, I was then too occupied with other activities to have the time for what would have to be a fairly extensively re-written book. So the English edition went out of print.
- This fact was not overlooked by the sugar industry. The Quarterly Bulletin of the World Sugar Research Organisation (WRS0), published from the London headquarters, is a sort of newsletter containing mostly summaries of research that bring good tidings to the industry. On the whole, these are from articles that either comment favourably on the use of sugar, its production or marketing, or that draw attention to some unfavourable aspect of the use of sugar and are then criticized in the Bulletin.
- In 1979 it published the following under the headline, 'For your dustbin':
- 'Pure, White and Deadly'. J. Yudkin. Davis-Poynter Ltd, London 1972.
- Readers of science fiction will no doubt be distressed to learn that according to the publishers the above work is out of print and no longer obtainable.
- Like any serious research worker, I do not mind people disagreeing with whatever conclusions I draw from research - my own or that of other serious research workers. But to say that my work is 'science fiction' is to say that what I had published as representing the results of my research and that of my departmental colleagues, as well as the research by other scientists I had quoted, was invented and imaginary.
- My view of the statement published in the Bulletin was shared by all those colleagues who saw it. My solicitor, who had had great experience in libel cases, was of the same opinion, but wisely sought the opinion of two separate barristers, both specialists in libel law. They also took the view that it is libellous to suggest that a scientist whose work has been published in British and foreign scientific journals of repute has in fact been presenting fictitious research findings.
- We initiated an action for libel, which began a four-year exchange of letters between lawyers. In the end, the sugar organization and its editors agreed to publish a retraction, and to pay my legal costs, which up to that time had not reached too high a level. We therefore settled with the organization and abandoned the suit. Here is the statement that was published in the Bulletin in March 1984:
- In the Quarterly Bulletin of September 1979 we commented on the fact that the book, 'Pure, White and Deadly' by Professor John Yudkin had gone out of print. We also made other comments relating to the contents and value of the book. We are sorry that the publication of those comments has been taken by Professor Yudkin to impugn his integrity or reputation as a scientist.
- Professor Yudkin is internationally known for his work on nutrition, having written a large number of research papers that have been published in a wide range of scientific and medical journals of the highest repute. He is also the author of several widely read books on nutrition, a subject with which his studies have been principally concerned. He has over the years acted as a consultant to a number of companies concerned with the manufacture of food or ingredients relating to food, including Ranks Hovis McDougall, Unilever and the National Dairy Council. Based on a series of experiments which he has been carrying out since the late 1950's he has formed views for which he is well known to the effect that sugar is not a safe commodity for human consumption. We accept that he holds these views and no imputation is cast upon his sincerity or the good faith of his research. Professor Yudkin recognizes that we do not agree with these views and accepts that we are entitled to express our disagreement.
- An ironical aspect of this affair was that the then Editor of the Bulletin was at the time a member of the Council, that is, the governing body, of Queen Elizabeth College, where I had been Professor of Nutrition for many years. He had been appointed Honorary Treasurer, and had been a member of the College Council in 1976, when, five years after I had formally retired, it had elected me a Fellow of the College - an honour that had otherwise been given only to retired administrative members of the College. He must therefore have voted for, or at least acquiesced in, my election as Fellow, which took place 'in recognition of [my] contribution to the reputation of the College in helping to establish and build a flourishing and highly respected Department of Nutrition'.
During the prolonged period when the lawyers were exchanging letters about my 'work of fiction', I attended an informal party at the College, where I was buttonholed by the Principal. He took me aside and told me that he had heard I was seeking to sue the Treasurer of the College Council. Just as I was about to thank him for sympathizing with me for being maligned by the Treasurer, he made clear his view that it was I that was at fault for attacking an officer of the Council of my own College. I thought that it would have been more appropriate if he had suggested that the Treasurer should resign from the Council for his unwarranted attack on an Emeritus Professor of the University and a Fellow of the College.
WSRO has 'received support from the following organisations'.
Office of the Cane and Sugar Board, Ministry of Industry
United States of America
Contact, Resources, Other lobby groups, Notes
- 70 Collingwood House
- Dolphin Square
- London SW1V 3LX
- Tel: +44 (0)20 7821 6800
- Fax: +44 (0)20 7834 4137
- Website: http://www.wsro.org/
Other sugar industry lobby groups
- Sugar Bureau, UK
- Alex Malaspina (ILSI), Fax to John Lupien, FAO, 21 June 1996.
- WSRO document 2 Fax from Riaz Khan, WSRO, to John Lupien, FAO, 18 July 1996.
- WSRO document 3 Fax from Riaz Khan, WSRO to Mr Bic, FAO 18 September 1996.
- WSRO document 4 Fax from Suzie Harris, ILSI to John Lupien, FAO, 5 November 1996.
- WSRO document 5 Fax from John Lupien, FAO, to Suzanne Harris, ILSI 6 November 1996.
- WSRO document 6 Email from Guy Nantel, to Suzie Harris, ILSI, cc John Lupien, FAO, 12 March 1997.
- WSRO document 7 'No link between sugar and lifestyle diseases, experts conclude, Page from FAO website, 25 June 1997
- WSRO document 8
- WSRO document 9
- WSRO document 10
- WSRO document 11
- WSRO document 12
- WSRO document 13
- WSRO document 14
- WSRO document 15
- WSRO document 16
- BBC, 'UN probes sugar industry claims' Friday, 8 October, 2004, 23:02 GMT 00:02 UK
- BBC Panorama, 'The trouble with sugar' Monday, 4 October 2004, 11:40 GMT 12:40 UK; Transcript of panorama programme; Watch Panorama episode
- Sarah Boseley 'WHO "infiltrated by food industry"' The Guardian Thursday January 9, 2003
- Sarah Boseley 'Sugar industry threatens to scupper WHO' The Guardian Monday April 21, 2003
- Sarah Boseley 'WHO 'buried' report to please food industry' The Guardian Wednesday November 3, 2004
- Liam McDougall, 'Sugar Wars; Obesity is a global crisis and at its heart is our love of sugary food' Sunday Herald, Feb 29, 2004.
- John Yudkin 'Attack is the best defence' Chapter 21 in Pure White and Deadly Penguin, 1988.
- Kath Dalmeny Sugar spin The Ecologist Date Published: 31 October 2003