Best Practices in Nutrition Science to Earn and Keep the Public’s Trust
The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) is committed to ensuring transparency and objectivity in our practices as a Society, as well as in the entire field of nutrition science.
We strive to work collaboratively with various stakeholders across sectors and disciplines while maintaining transparency and scientific rigor in nutrition science.
ASN is in the process of implementing the best practice recommendations to ensure better trust in ASN and nutrition science, with the help of an Implementation Advisory Group and ASN committees.
We appreciate the input of many nutrition stakeholders during this process.
In 2016, the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) commissioned a Blue Ribbon Panel on “Ensuring Trust in Nutrition Science” to develop best practices regarding how to work collaboratively with various stakeholders across sectors and disciplines while maintaining transparency and scientific rigor in nutrition science to uphold the trust of all stakeholders.
These best practices apply to various stakeholders across industry, government, academia and other nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations within the field of nutrition and beyond. The best practices help to ensure transparency, objectivity, and comprehensiveness and guide the Society’s activities, as well as help ASN members and other nutrition scientists and researchers achieve the best nutrition science that maintains scientific rigor and transparency while ultimately benefiting public and individual health.Read the Recommendations
Timeline of Events
Approval is based on ASN committee’s draft implementation plans developed with stakeholder feedback received. Find the implementation plan here.
Internally, ASN committees review the recommendations and develop implementation plans
Publication of the Blue Ribbon Panel’s report
The Panel’s report “Best Practices in Nutrition Science to Earn and Keep the Public’s Trust” and its recommendations, which are based on a comprehensive literature review, are published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition along with accompanying commentary by Past President Catherine J. Field, “Ensuring Trust in Nutrition Science: Request for Stakeholder Input.”
This presentation is freely available on ASN on Demand.View Presentation
An in-person kick-off meeting was held on April 25, 2016, following a March 2016 introductory conference call. Regular calls of the panel were held throughout 2016 and 2017, with an update provided to ASN members and other attendees during the April 2017 Experimental Biology meeting. The panel finished report writing in early 2018.
to review the current state of trust in nutrition science and to provide recommendations regarding how to work collaboratively with various stakeholders across sectors and disciplines while maintaining transparency and scientific rigor in nutrition science to uphold the trust of all stakeholders.
ASN should develop a rigorous, transparent approach to co-sponsoring and managing all activities financially supported by “entities and/or individuals at interest.” Key to the second alternative are management approaches intended to minimize bias and enhance transparency such as the establishment of an independent advisory group reporting directly to the ASN Board and charged with reviewing proposed activities co-sponsored by entities and/or individuals at interest and the development and implementation of guidelines for avoiding conflicts of interests of individuals.
See the approved report, Guiding Principles for Relationships with Entities at Interest.
ASN publications should include a front-of-the-publication label that describes three key study characteristics: 1) the type of evidence presented in the study (e.g. observational, RCT, discovery, mechanistic, etc.), 2) the study finding’s most proper use(s) (e.g., draw conclusions/inform policy, hypothesis generation, or increase basic knowledge) and 3) the quality of evidence (Low or Moderate or High based on specified GRADE criteria).
ASN should bolster its efforts to engage the public and media in more effective dialogue among its members, the media, and the public.
ASN should develop guidelines for its members in managing and conducting nutrition research funded by entities at interest – often those with a financial stake in the outcomes of the funded work.
See the approved report, Guiding Principles for Managing and Conducting Nutrition Research Funded by Entities at Interest.
ASN should commission independent audits of its adherence to adopted policies and practices intended to heighten and maintain public trust in nutrition science.
ASN should develop comprehensive conflict of interest disclosure statements that cover financial and other conflict of interest sources that serve as a model in nutrition science for use by its members, other stakeholder groups, and staff. See the approved Model Disclosure Form.
Guiding Principles for Membership (Approved April 2021)
Model Disclosure Form (Approved April 2021)
Guiding Principles for Relationships with Entities at Interest (Approved November 2020)
Guiding Principles for Managing and Conducting Nutrition Research Funded by Entities at Interest (Approved November 2020)
Notes from Panel Discussions
Implementation Advisory Group Calls
Summary Notes from March 31, 2020 Call
Summary Notes from February 14, 2020 Call
Summary Notes from January 15, 2020 Call
Summary Notes from December 18, 2019 Call
Summary Notes from December 2, 2019 Call
Implementation Advisory Group Members
Blue Ribbon Panel Group Calls
Summary notes from December 14, 2017 call
Summary notes from October 24, 2017 call
Summary notes from
September 26, 2017 call
Summary notes from August 9, 2017 call
Summary notes from July 17, 2017 callSummary notes from June 14, 2017 callSummary notes from April 10, 2017 call
Summary notes from March 20, 2017 callSummary notes from March 14, 2016 call
Summary notes from April 25, 2016 meeting
Summary notes from May 25, 2016 call
Summary notes from June 20, 2016 call
Summary notes from July 20, 2016 call
Summary notes from August 24, 2016 call
Summary notes from October 18, 2016 call
Blue Ribbon Panel Group Members
Cutberto Garza, MD, PhD (Chair)
Eric Campbell, PhD
Edward Cooney, JD
Michael McGinnis, MD
Robert Steinbrook, MD
Catherine Woteki, PhD
Patrick Stover, PhD (ex-officio member)
John Courtney, PhD (ex-officio member)
The American Society of Nutrition’s (ASN) membership of 8,000 scientists and practitioners continues grow daily. Founded in 1928, the Society’s membership rolls read like a “Who’s is Who” in the field of nutrition research.