'International Life Sciences Institute used by corporate backers to counter public health policies, says study'
'An institute whose experts have occupied key positions on EU and UN regulatory panels is, in reality, an industry lobby group that masquerades as a scientific health charity, according to a peer-reviewed study.
The Washington-based International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) describes its mission as “pursuing objectivity, clarity and reproducibility” to “benefit the public good”.
But researchers from the University of Cambridge, Bocconi University in Milan, and the US Right to Know campaign assessed over 17,000 pages of documents under US freedom of information laws to present evidence of influence-peddling.
The paper’s lead author, Dr Sarah Steele, a Cambridge university senior research associate, said: “Our findings add to the evidence that this nonprofit organisation has been used by its corporate backers for years to counter public health policies. ILSI should be regarded as an industry group – a private body – and regulated as such, not as a body acting for the greater good.”
In a 2015 email copied to ILSI’s then director, Suzanne Harris, and executives from firms such as Coca-Cola and Monsanto, ILSI’s founder Alex Malaspina, a former Coca-Cola vice-president, complained bitterly about new US dietary guidelines for reducing sugar intake.
“These guidelines are a real disaster!” he wrote. “They could eventually affect us significantly in many ways; Soft drink taxations, modified school luncheon programs, a strong educational effort to educate children and adults to significanty [sic] limit their sugar intake,, curtail advertising of sugary foods and beverages and eventually a great pressure from CDC [the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention] and other agencies to force industry to start deducing [sic] drastically the sugar we add to processed foods and beverages.”'
Read more: Science institute that advised EU and UN 'actually industry lobby group'