Intended for healthcare professionals


New red meat guidelines are undermined by undisclosed ties and faulty methods, say critics

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 14 October 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6001
  1. Owen Dyer
  1. Montreal

New guidelines on red and processed meat1 that cast doubt on the health benefits of reducing consumption have come under fire from critics who note that the lead author of the principal paper also helped to write a 2016 paper questioning the benefits of limiting sugar intake,2 which was funded by an industry group.

Bradley Johnston, an epidemiologist at Dalhousie University in Canada, did not disclose this previous funding in the conflict of interest declaration for the new red meat guidelines, which contradict most current expert advice in not recommending reduced consumption. The meat and sugar guidelines were both published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Johnston told The BMJ that, although the sugar research paper was published in late 2016, the funding was received in 2015, and hence he did not refer to it in the journal’s conflict of interest questionnaire for the new guidelines, which asked about financial conflicts from …

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