The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) incorrectly announced on Friday that Professor Tim Noakes had been found guilty of unprofessional conduct.
The HPCSA sent out its initial press release that caused mass confusion just before 1pm and only retracted it at 4.20pm.
“We apologise for incorrectly stating that Professor Tim Noakes was found guilty by the Professional Conduct Committee,” the second press release said.
Noakes – whose book, The Real Meal Revolution, promotes a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet – was called before the HPCSA after the former president of the Association for Dietetics in South Africa, Claire Julsing-Strydom, lodged a complaint against him.
It was prompted by a tweet Noakes sent to a Pippa Leenstra after she asked him for advice on feeding babies and on breastfeeding.
Her tweet read: “@ProfTimNoakes @SalCreed is LCHF eating ok for breastfeeding mums? Worried about all the dairy + cauliflower = wind for babies?? [sic]”
Noakes advised her to wean her child onto LCHF foods, which he described as “real” foods.
His tweet read: “Baby doesn’t eat the dairy and cauliflower. Just very healthy high-fat breast milk. Key is to ween [sic] baby onto LCHF.”
He recently testified during his hearing and called witnesses in defence of his case.
The matter was adjourned this week until argument in April 2017.
The pro forma complainant would have until February 1 next year to file heads of argument. Noakes’ legal team would have until February 22 next year to do the same. The pro forma complainant would then have until March 15 to file a reply to these heads.
The committee would deliberate on the issue and come to a decision between April 6 and 7 next year, the HPCSA said.
Judgment on the matter would be issued on April 21.
Noakes had argued during the hearing that his advice was anything but unconventional, quoting research from as far back as the 1800s before the boom in obesity rates.
He said the HPCSA had treated him unfairly and not given him the opportunity to defend himself in a preliminary trial.
“I was not dealt a fair hand,” he said.
Noakes pointed out that the hearing had cost him and the HPCSA millions of rands, even though he “did not harm anyone”. He believed he had been targeted because of his celebrity status.
“The only people who took harm from this was myself and my family.”
He insisted the LCHF diet was not dangerous. – News24