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Accepted manuscript

Conflicts of interest for members of the U.S. 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 March 2022

Mélissa Mialon
Affiliation:
Trinity Business School, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Paulo Serodio*
Affiliation:
ISER, University of Essex, UK; School of Economics, University of Barcelona, Spain
Eric Crosbie
Affiliation:
School of Community Health Sciences, University of Nevada, U.S. Ozmen Institute for Global Studies, University of Nevada, U.S.
Nina Teicholz
Affiliation:
The Nutrition Coalition, U.S.
Ashka Naik
Affiliation:
Corporate Accountability, U.S.
Angela Carriedo
Affiliation:
World Public Health and Nutrition Association, U.K.
*
*Corresponding author:p.matos@ub.edu
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Abstract

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Objectives:

To measure incidence of conflicts of interest (COI) with food and pharmaceutical industry actors on the advisory committee for the 2020- 2025 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) and assess the adequacy of current mechanisms to disclose and manage COI among the committee’s members.

Design:

We compiled longitudinal data from archival sources on connections between members of the DGA’s advisory committee and actors. We hypothesed that these committee members, who oversee the science for the most influential dietary policy in the U.S, might have significant COI that would be relevant to their decision making. Disclosure of COI on this committee was recommended in 2017 by the National Academies of Sciences in order to increase transparency and manage bias, but public disclosure of the committee’s COI does not appear to have taken place.

Setting:

the committee was comprised of 20 experts.

Participants:

None.

Results:

Our analysis found that 95% of the committee members had COI with the food, and/or pharmaceutical industries and that particular actors, including Kellogg, Abbott, Kraft, Mead Johnson, General Mills, Dannon, and the International Life Sciences had connections with multiple members. Research funding and membership of an advisory/executive board jointly accounted for more than 60% of the total number of COI documented.

Conclusions:

Trustworthy dietary guidelines result from a transparent, objective, and science-based, process. Our analysis has shown that the significant and widespread COI on the committee prevent the DGA from achieving the recommended standard for transparency without mechanisms in place to make this information publicly available.

Type
Research paper
Copyright
© The Authors 2022
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