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

Angela Carriedo Lutzenkirchen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

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 sciencebased, 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.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Early online date21 Mar 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Mar 2022

Keywords

  • commercial determinants of health
  • conflicts of interest
  • dietary guidelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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