Heineken CEO sows doubts about the relationship between alcohol and cancer

16 February 2023

In an interview in the biggest Dutch Newspaper, de Telegraaf, Heineken CEO Dolf van den Brink sows doubts about the relationship between alcohol and cancer. He states that moderate use can be part of a healthy lifestyle and that there is a lot of doubts about how certain studies can be interpreted.

This is the first time that a top executive of Heineken publicly opposes facts about alcohol that are now scientifically undisputed.

"Science is clear about this," says a spokesperson for the KWF, Dutch Cancer Society. "There is no safe lower limit: even one glass of alcohol increases your risk of cancer." To add: "It would be good if we all were more aware of that”. Recent research by the Trimbos Institute indeed shows that only one third of the Dutch people make the connection between alcohol and cancer.

According to the Trimbos Institute, knowledge can be gained on this point by requiring a health warning on alcohol labels. The Netherlands Nutrition Center also thinks this is a good idea.

Van den Brink does not show whether he accept such health warnings. He responds that he, above all, wants a dialogue with society and interest groups. He is therefore concerned that there are groups that no longer want to talk to the alcohol industry. He also states that there is a lot of distrust if the industry wants to introduce certain nuances.

KWF, Dutch Cancer Society indicates that it is no longer in favour of a dialogue with Heineken. "The industry is holding back effective measures." That is also the line of the World Health Organization. The WHO advises health organizations not to talk with the alcohol industry about prevention.



Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP
P.O. Box 9769
3506 GT Utrecht
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30-6565041
F: +31 (0)30-6565043