Scientific Integrity

At the American Nutrition Association, the first of our core values is: “Nutrition is a Science.” Above all else, we commit to unwavering scientific integrity. 

The science demonstrates that nutrition powerfully impacts human health. We are committed to translating science-based nutrition knowledge for the public and health professionals without bias. 

Corporate Relationship Policy

Another core value of the ANA is: “Nutrition is an Ecosystem.” We fulfill our mission in part by coalescing the nutrition ecosystem. We engage the expertise, perspectives, and resources of diverse players in the field of personalized nutrition.

A vital element of the nutrition ecosystem is the private sector, which provides the food, products and services that people ultimately consume to power their health.  We have developed an innovative Corporate Relationship Policy that facilitates engagement with the private sector in a way that maintains our absolute commitment to scientific integrity.

The American Nutrition Association only accepts corporate funding from companies that align with our vision, mission and values.

The ANA Corporate Relationship Policy is a key pillar demonstrating the ANA’s scientific integrity and trustworthiness through defined and transparent criteria for Corporate Relationships. This serves key stakeholders:

  • It conveys to members and the public at large that the ANA only accepts funding from companies that are aligned with the ANA’s Vision, Mission and Values.
  • It establishes clear standards to guide the ANA internal team in navigating its Corporate Relationships.
  • It provides guidelines for companies seeking a relationship with the ANA.
Goals of Corporate Relationships

Corporate Relationships with the ANA help both parties achieve their aligned Visions in the following ways:

  • By providing financial or gift-in-kind support for the ANA’s mission to enable new and ongoing initiatives.
  • By expanding the ANA’s ecosystem, including the employees, suppliers, partners, and customers of corporations, to continue to raise awareness and support for the ANA’s Mission.
  • By identifying, to the benefit of the ANA’s members and ecosystem, commercial entities that are aligned with the ANA’s Vision, Mission and high standards.
  • By encouraging nutrition-positive behavior by commercial entities.
  • By providing a channel for corporations to make charitable contributions that align with their own Vision and Mission.
Guiding Principles

Three key principles guide Corporate Relationships with the ANA:

  • Science: The ANA champions the science and practice of personalized nutrition. Nutrition science and scientific integrity undergird the ANA’s work and mission and must always be upheld in relationships with the corporate sector. Corporate Relationships may not, under any circumstance prejudice ANA educational content.
  • Transparency: The ANA is committed to transparency in its relationships with corporate entities. As such, the ANA’s Corporate Relationship Policy, procedures, and current Corporate Relationships are available to the public.
  • Integrity: The ANA is committed to its values first and foremost and does not compromise these for financial gain or any other purposes. As such, the ANA’s Corporate Relationship Policy is intended to ensure objectivity, clarity, and reproducibility in assessments and decision making. This policy will be periodically reviewed to ensure it continues to meet those needs. The following organizational structures, evaluation criteria and procedures ensure that the goals and guiding principles for Corporate Relationships with the ANA are rigorously upheld.
Organizational Structures

Nutrition Science Team

The ANA internal Nutrition Science Team is the scientific department charged with the initial objective assessment of potential corporate entities.

Corporate Relationship Evaluation Committee

The Committee is a group of external scientists whose role is to assist in decision-making about whether a corporate entity meets the ANA’s standards for becoming an ANA supporter in circumstances requiring a higher level of scrutiny.

  • Makeup
    • The Committee is made up of at least 3 individual volunteers representing balanced views and perspectives with respect to:
      • Corporate and industry relationships
      • Profession: researcher-scientists, practitioners, academics
  • Criteria for service
    • Transparent affiliations with industry: The ANA requires that individuals evaluating corporate entities have no commercial ties to the companies being assessed.
      • Financial disclosure forms are maintained and updated annually. All parties involved in Corporate Relationship evaluations must submit signed disclosure documentation to ensure that individuals or their spouses receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fees, ownership interest (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds), or other financial benefit from a corporate entity are not involved in the evaluation of that corporate entity. These criteria are in keeping with industry standards for financial relationships
      • Committee members with disclosures related to a company, its subsidiaries, or its parent companies will be excused from that round of vetting.
    • Robust experience (10+ years) as a scientist, academic, or practitioner in the field of nutrition.
    • Willingness and ability to respond in a timely manner to vetting requests.
  • Selection
    • Committee candidates may be nominated by any ANA Board Director
    • Nutrition Science Team internally assesses candidates and their interest in serving
    • Members of the Committee are formally appointed by the ANA Board of Directors that represents the ANA family of organizations
Evaluation Criteria

Corporations seeking a relationship with the ANA are comprehensively evaluated in the following areas:

  • Company information to assess type of business, current affiliations, corporate structures, and funding sources
  • Mission, vision and values to assess alignment with the ANA
  • Commitment to quality to assess attention to product and service quality standards
  • Scientific integrity to assess scientific soundness of products and services
  • Public presence to assess for integrity in communication, real or perceived bias, or conflict of interest

Evaluation Procedures

Corporate entities seeking relationships with the ANA are assessed through the Stage I/II procedures using the above Evaluation Criteria. Those meeting the ANA’s standards may subsequently provide financial support to the ANA. The ANA will not accept financial support from corporations who do not meet these standards.

  • Stage I Procedure – All Corporate Candidates. Stage I evaluations are conducted by the Nutrition Science Team, which also makes final determinations for Stage I evaluations.
  • Stage II Procedure – Parent or Holding Companies of Corporate Candidates. Stage II evaluation is initiated by the Nutrition Science Team when a corporate candidate passes Stage I, but is majority-owned by a corporate parent or holding company. The Corporate Relationship Evaluation Committee is provided with the results of the Stage I vet, completes an independent assessment, and makes final determinations for Stage II evaluations.

During the evaluation process, the Committee is blinded to the potential financial or non-financial contributions of the corporation under evaluation. 

Exceptional Circumstances

Deeper evaluations of any corporate entity, including financial audits, may be requested by the Committee or the Nutrition Science Team.

Annual Review

All ANA Corporate Relationships are subject to potential review on an annual basis or as necessary based on corporate structure changes, legal matters, other giving or for any other reason deemed necessary by the Nutrition Science Team or Corporate Relationship Evaluation Committee.

Relationship Restrictions on Approved Companies

To maintain the scientific integrity of the ANA’s educational content, the ANA does not allow approved corporations to engage with the ANA in ways that may encourage real or perceived prejudice. Approved corporations may target funding to support certain ANA programs that are areas of interest to the corporation. However, Corporate Relationships may NOT:

  • Influence the activities of the Accreditation Council Nutrition Professional Education (ACNPE)
  • Influence the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS)
  • Influence the content in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition (JACN)
  • Influence conference content and speaker selection
  • Influence other educational content including training programs and webinars