New York University Professor Marion Nestle has penned an opinion
article in the January 2016 edition of JAMA Internal Medicine criticizing
industry-backed food studies. Pointing to research reviews posted on
her Food Politics blog, Nestle alleges that 70 out of 76 industry-funded
studies published between March and October 2015 “reported results
favorable to the sponsor’s interest.”

“In the studies I collected, companies or trade associations promoting
soft drinks, dairy foods, eggs, breakfast cereals, pork, beef, soy products,
dietary supplements, juices, cranberries, nuts, and chocolates supported
the study itself, the investigators, or both,” she said in the commentary.
“These studies all found significant health benefits or lack of harm from
consuming the foods investigated, results that can be useful for deflecting
criticism of a company or promoting its products.”

Based on her findings, Nestle urges journals to consider whether
submitted work promotes public health or food marketing. “Journal
editors should ensure that editors and members of editorial boards are
free of industry conflicts, require peer reviewers to note food-industry
funding in manuscript evaluations, and be wary of accepting industryfunded
publications with evident commercial implications,” she said.
“If food companies and trade associations want to fund research, they
should consider pooling resources and setting up an independent foundation
to administer the grants.”

 

Issue 589

About The Author

For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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