Tufts University Senior Research Scientist Guangwen Tang has reportedly
accused the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) of defaming her with its
plan to retract her 2012 article—“β-carotene in Golden Rice is as good as
p-carotene in oil at providing vitamin A to children”—for allegedly prob-
lematic research protocols. Filing in Middlesex County Court, Tang has also
accused Tufts of interference in business relations because, she argues, the
university barred her from doing human research for two years and told her
she would be subject to disciplinary actions regarding future research and
would be required to undergo human subject training—actions that Tufts
disclosed to ASN and led to the organization’s decision to retract her article,
she claims.

Tang’s studies examined the effects of golden rice, genetically engineered
rice enriched with β-carotene, in China through a 2008 field trial that involved
feeding the rice to Chinese children. Chinese media reports and Greenpeace
China later accused Tang’s research team of failing to properly inform parents
of what they fed their children during the study, which led to an investigation
by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Tufts also began
inquiries into the study’s research protocol, which Tang says found no health
or safety problems and no evidence of research misconduct, but resulted in
Tufts warning Tang about disciplinary action for future research and ASN’s
decision to pull her article. Tang argues that the planned retraction will harm
her professional reputation and seeks damages for defamation and breach of
contract as well as an injunction to prevent ASN’s retraction. See Courthouse
News, July 16, 2014.


Issue 530

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.