By Professor Brigit Toebes, Academic Director, Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre
Summary in English:
NRC Handelsblad’s Saturday 25 November issue contains an entry of eleven pages entirely devoted to sugar. It discusses a broad range of topics related to sugar, including the role of sugar throughout the centuries, sugar consumption in the Netherlands, the amount of sugar in bread, and sugar production. Several scientists are quoted in an attempt to rebut the increasing scientific claim that sugar consumption causes overweight and obesity. A closer look at this entry shows that it is in fact an advertisement from Royal Cosun, an agro-industrial concern of the Dutch sugar beet producers. Given the neutral presentation of the entry, the reader is easily confused and misled about its content. How much leeway should the industry be given in promoting its products in a newspaper?