Food Industry Influence Could Cloud the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, a New Report Says
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times
Posted: November 7th, 2023
Some of the experts responsible for helping to craft the U.S. dietary guidelines also take money from big food and drug companies. A report ... by the nonprofit U.S. Right to Know makes those concerns plain. Nine of the 20 experts on the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee have had conflicts of interest in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical or weight loss industries in the last five years, the report found. Gary Ruskin, the executive director of the nonprofit, said the finding “erodes confidence in the dietary guidelines,” which provide recommendations on how people can eat a healthier diet. The guidelines are widely used by policymakers to set priorities in federal food programs, health care and education. Questions about industry influence could damage the public’s trust that the recommendations are based in science. When committee members receive funding from certain industry groups or organizations, it raises the concern that they may be biased, Dr. [Marion] Nestle said. “Part of the problem is the influence is unconscious,” she said. “People don’t recognize it,” she added, and will often deny it. Even if such relationships do not influence the experts, Mr. Ruskin said, they can create the appearance that they do — which can seed doubt about how independent the committee’s recommendations actually are. Industry influence can [also] creep in later in the process ... when the U.S.D.A. and the H.H.S. produce the final guidelines based on the committee’s advice.
Note: U.S. Right to Know is an excellent resource for investigating how the food industry shapes science, policy and public opinion. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.