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05.2009

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedOnWineReport

FRENCH WINEMAKERS VS. the CANCER BOOKLET

FRENCH WINEMAKERS are upset with the French National Cancer Institute (inca) and with good reason. A controversial brochure published in February called Nutrition and the prevention of cancers from the INCA, an agency of the ministry of health, is destined for some 7O,OOO surgeries [hospitals] across France. It claims that consumption of even small daily amounts of wine and all other alcohols significantly raise the chance of developing cancer, some by as much as 168%. Not surprisingly, the winemakers are demanding the withdrawal of the brochure. “When it comes to wine their conclusions go against many reputable medical studies and don’t balance the for and against,” said winemaker Jean-Charles Tastavy, leading the legal challenge to the INCA document as head of an especially-created association called For the Honour of Wine. “We’ve formally requested that the French health ministry block the publication of the brochure and that the text be modified. If that fails we’ll take the case before the national courts, and even at a European level if necessary,” he told decanter.com. The INCA has continued to defend its document. Raphaelle Ancellin, head of INCA’s nutrition and cancer program said, “These conclusions, founded on more than 5OO international studies, are the result of a collective international expertise which represents a reference for the scientific community.” But Tastavy’s campaign against the publication is gaining momentum and has drawn outspoken support from members of the French medical community, including leading urologist and MP, professor Bernard Debré. He described the INCA report as “a study that has neither head nor tail, and no real scientific basis.”

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