Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) advises Public Health England and other government agencies and departments on nutrition and related health issues.

SACN advises on:

  • nutrient content of individual foods, and on diet as a whole including the definition of a balanced diet, and the nutritional status of people
  • nutritional status of people in the UK and how it may be monitored
  • nutritional issues which affect wider public health policy issues including conditions where nutritional status is one of a number of risk factors (eg cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis and/or obesity)
  • nutrition of vulnerable groups (eg infants and the elderly) and health inequality issues
  • research requirements for the above

SACN is supported in its work by a secretariat provided by the Public Health England. The secretariat has scientific expertise that enables them to provide members with comprehensive background information and briefing papers to inform the decision making processes of the Committee

SACN follow a set Framework for the Evaluation of Evidence (PDF, 580KB, 22 pages) that relates food and nutrients to health, to ensure a consistent approach is taken with all reviews.

Membership

SACN members are appointed as independent scientific experts on the basis of their specific skills and knowledge. There are also consumer and lay members.

Members are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees.

The committee is chaired by Dr Ann Prentice, Director at MRC Human Nutrition Research. The deputy chair is Professor Peter Aggett, Professor of Child Health and Nutrition.

The members are:

  • Professor Paul Haggarty, Head of Lifelong Health, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen
  • Professor Timothy Key, Deputy Director, Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford
  • Dr David Mela, Science Leader at Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, the Netherlands
  • Professor Ian Macdonald, Professor of Metabolic Physiology at the University of Nottingham and Director of Research in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Dr Stella Walsh, Consumer member
  • Dr Anthony Williams, Reader in Child Nutrition and Consultant in Neonatal Paediatrics, St George’s University of London
  • Professor Hilary Powers, Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry, Head of Human Nutrition Unit, Deputy Head of Department of Oncology, University of Sheffield
  • Professor Angus Walls, Professor of Restorative Dentistry and Director of the Edinburgh Dental Institute
  • Professor Susan Lanham-New, Head of the Nutritional Sciences Division, University of Surrey
  • Professor Julie Lovegrove, Professor of Human Nutrition, Head of the Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition and Deputy Director of the Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, University of Reading
  • Professor Ian Young, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast
  • Professor Harry McArdle, Deputy Director of Science and the Director of Academic Affairs at the Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen
  • Ms Gill Fine, Public Health Nutritionist
  • Professor Monique Raats, Director of the Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre at the University of Surrey
  • Mrs Gemma Paramor, lay member
  • Professor Charlotte Wright, Professor of Community Child Health, University of Glasgow

SACN meetings

Minutes

2015 meetings organised for 26 February, 17 June and 24 September

The draft minutes for the main meeting on 24 September are now available.

View the SACN main meeting minutes and papers

Minutes of meetings before 2014 can be viewed on the SACN page on the National Archives


Subgroup on Maternal and Child Nutrition (SMCN)

Terms of reference

To advise, through SACN, on such aspects of child and maternal diet and nutrition, as are referred to it by the UK health departments and SACN.

Membership

SMCN is chaired by Dr Anthony Williams, SACN.

The members are:

  • Dr Ann Prentice, SACN
  • Professor Peter Aggett, SACN
  • Dr Stella M Walsh, SACN
  • Professor Monique Raats, SACN
  • Professor Annie S Anderson, Centre for Public Health Nutrition Research
  • Professor Alan A Jackson, Institute of Human Nutrition, Southampton General Hospital
  • Dr Robert Fraser, Reader, Reproductive and Developmental Medicine, University of Sheffield.
  • Professor Sian Robinson, Principal Research Fellow, MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre, University of Southampton
  • Dr Ken Ong, MRC Group Leader & Paediatric Endocrinologist, MRC Epidemiology Unit
  • Professor Charlotte Wright, SACN
  • Professor Mairead Kiely, Professor of Human Nutrition, University College Cork

Minutes

2015 meetings organised for 28 January, 14 October and a drafting meeting for 2 December

2016 meeting organised for 11 January

The final minutes for the subgroup meeting on 14 October are now available.

View the SMCN minutes and papers

Minutes of meetings before 2014 can be viewed on the SMCN page on the National Archives


Vitamin D Working Group

Terms of reference

To review the Dietary Reference Values for vitamin D intake and make recommendations.

This will require a risk assessment of the vitamin D status of the UK population and consideration of the:

  • biochemical indicators of vitamin D status and the validity of the threshold concentrations/ranges used to assess risk of deficiency and excess
  • association between vitamin D status and various health outcomes at different life stages and in different population groups and the effects of biological modifiers
  • contribution of cutaneous vitamin D synthesis to vitamin D status in the United Kingdom taking account of the effects of modifiers of skin exposure to sunlight; the risks of skin damage and other adverse health outcomes associated with sunlight exposure
  • potential adverse effects of high vitamin D intakes
  • relative contributions made by dietary vitamin D intake (from natural food sources, fortified foods and supplements) and cutaneous vitamin D synthesis to the vitamin D status of the UK population

Membership

The working group is chaired by Professor Hilary Powers, SACN.

The members are:

  • Dr Ann Prentice, SACN
  • Dr Anthony Williams, Reader in Child Nutrition and Consultant in Neonatal Paediatrics, St George’s, University of London
  • Professor Timothy Key, SACN
  • Professor Harry McArdle, SACN
  • Professor Susan Lanham-New, SACN
  • Professor Ian Young, SACN
  • Dr Stella M Walsh, SACN
  • Professor Roger Francis, Consultant Physician, Metabolic Bone Service, The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals
  • Professor Kevin Cashman, Professor of Food and Health, College of Science, Engineering and Food Science, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University College Cork

Minutes

2015 meetings organised for 18 June and 12 November.

The draft minutes of the Vitamin D Working group meeting on 12 November 2015 is now available.

View the Vitamin D Working Group minutes and papers

Minutes of meetings before 2014 can be viewed on the Vitamin D Working Group page on the National Archives


Military Energy DRVs Working Group

Terms of reference

In this review, the group will:

  • recommend estimated dietary references values for energy for those military occupational roles which have evidenced requirements different from the estimated average requirements for UK population subgroups recommended by SACN in 2011
  • provide recommendations that take into account environment and relevant population descriptors such as age, body size (including consideration of body composition), levels of physical activity, and gender
  • consider the implications of these energy recommendations for the nutrient requirements of UK military populations – especially in terms of macronutrient requirements for high-energy occupational roles

Membership

The working group is chaired by Professor Ian Young, SACN.

The members are:

  • Professor Ian Macdonald, SACN
  • Professor Alan Jackson, Institute of Human Nutrition, Southampton General Hospital
  • Lt Col Christian Ardley, Royal Army Medical Corps
  • Dr Stella Walsh, SACN

Minutes

2015 meeting scheduled for 13 November

The final minutes of the Military DRVs Working group meeting on 13 November 2015 are now available.

View the Military Energy DRVs Working Group minutes and papers.


Fats Working Group

Terms of reference

The terms of reference for the SACN Fats Working Group are yet to be agreed.

Membership

The working group is chaired by Professor Paul Haggarty, SACN.

The members are:

  • Professor Julie Lovegrove, SACN
  • Professor Timothy Key, SACN
  • Dr David Mela, SACN
  • Mrs Gemma Paramor, SACN
  • Professor Ian Young, SACN
  • Dr Mairead Kiely, SMCN
  • Dr Jules Griffin, Human Nutrition Research, Medical Research Council
  • Professor Christine Williams, University of Reading

Minutes

2016 meeting scheduled for 11 March.

The draft minutes of the Fats Working Group meeting on 26 October are now available

View the Fats Working Group minutes and papers.

Archived Groups

Carbohydrates Working Group

The Carbohydrates Working Group has been disbanded following the completion of its work and publication of the SACN Carbohydrates and Health report. In addition to the report, you can view the SACN press release (PDF, 350KB, 3 pages) , the results of the public consultation and details of the Carbohydrates Working Group, which are held in the National Archives.

View the Carbohydrates Working Group minutes and papers from 2014 until the completion of its work on the National Archives website.

View the Carbohydrate Working Group minutes and papers before 2014 on the National Archives website.


News

SACN letter to Ministers and CMO on folic acid

SACN has written to Ministers and the CMOs to remind them of our advice from 2000, 2006 and 2009 on the need to improve folate levels in the population. The letter is available to read along with the minutes from the SACN main meeting on 24 September 2015.

SACN Vitamin D and Health public consultation

The public consultation on the draft SACN Vitamin D and Health report closed at 2pm on 23 September 2015, thank you to everyone who responded. The Vitamin D Working Group will consider all comments at its meeting on 12 November 2015, and the report will then be brought to the SACN meeting on 24 February 2016 for discussion by the main Committee.

Comments will be published in full, along with the Committee’s responses to them. These will be available on the vitamin D consultation page following publication of the final report.

Reports

See all SACN reports

Older reports can be viewed on the SACN page on the National Archives

Position Statements

See all SACN position statements

Older position statements can be viewed on the SACN page on the National Archives

Annual Reports

See the latest SACN annual report

Older annual reports can be viewed on the SACN annual reports page on the National Archives

Contact details

SACN Secretariat
Public Health England
2nd Floor Skipton House
80 London Road
London
SE1 6LH

Telephone: 020 7654 8479

Email: SACN@phe.gov.uk

Press office: 020 7654 8400

Out of hours: 020 8200 4400

Email: phe-pressoffice@phe.gov.uk