Open letter to The Lancet

Monday, 13 March 2023

Open letter from the CEO of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) to the Editor in Chief of The Lancet.

Sent 10 March 2023

Dear Professor Horton

Thank you for publishing my letter (3 March 2023), sent to you on 23 November 2022, however I am disappointed that the authors’ response fails to answer any of AHDB’s questions around The Global Burden of Disease Risk Factors Study 2019.

In light of this, AHDB formally requests that The Global Burden of Disease Risk Factors Study 2019 is removed from publication to ensure it is not used to shape global public health policy and guidelines, until it is confirmed it has gone through proper due process and scrutiny. It is of the up most importance that this data is held to the highest intellectual scrutiny to ensure accuracy and appropriate influence in human health.

As an evidence based non-departmental public body sponsored by DEFRA, AHDB is proud to uphold and encourage scientific and intellectual accuracy, to ensure evidence used to shape public policy around food’s role in human health, and farming’s role in environmental health, is transparent and reliable.

AHDB is yet to see evidence from The Lancet which demonstrates that it followed international best practice guidelines in accordance with both the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses) and GATHER (Guidelines for Accurate and Transparent Health Estimates Reporting) statements, and that all supporting data was peer reviewed as required by all medical journals.

Readers of The Lancet need to be confident in such an eminent publication, which based on our experience to date on this matter, we are not certain this can be the case.

Yours sincerely

Tim Rycroft
Chief Executive