- A new report from a public health lawyer, Michele Simon, suggests that food companies and nutrition scientists have grown cozier over the years. The ethics of this relationship depends on perspective. At the root of the argument is funding.
- The report warns that conflict of interest is a concern when nutrition organizations accept money from food companies with a vested interest in research. That partnering, the report says, could lead to softened health recommendations as groups seek to appeal to funding backers.
- However, the government encourages collaboration between the food industry and research entities like universities, who can receive funding to make research possible. "The research funding we receive at my University from both industry and non-industry groups allows us to tackle important questions, conduct research more rigorously, address vital health problems in the United States (like obesity), and provide educational and training opportunities to young scholars who otherwise might not have such a chance," said David Allison, an obesity researcher and American Journal of Clinical Nutrition editorial board member.
Simon says proof of the blurred lines are American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) "lackluster recommendations" on processed foods and she specifically addresses Allison for a conflict of interest, as he has consulted with lobbying groups and companies like Dr Pepper Snapple Group, PepsiCo, and others. The ASN said personal attacks will not facilitate the process of sorting out nutrition challenges for today's world.