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, 223KB, 15 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 2 members to represent consumers.

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 Nutrition and Epigenetics and Senior Lecturer at 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 representative
  • 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 representative

SACN meetings

Minutes

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

The draft minutes of the SACN main meeting on 17 June (PDF, 382KB, 22 pages) 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.
  • Dr Sian Robinson, Principal Research Fellow, MRC Epidemiology Resource Centre, University of Southampton
  • Dr Ken Ong, MRC Group Leader & Paediatric Endocrinologist, MRC Epidemiology Unit

Minutes

2015 meetings organised for 28 January and 13 May

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.

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

Carbohydrates Working Group

Terms of reference

The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition is requested by the Food Standards Agency and Department of Health to provide clarification of the relationship between dietary carbohydrate and health and make public health recommendations.

To achieve this they need to review:

  • evidence for a role of dietary carbohydrate in colorectal health in adults (including colorectal cancer, IBS, constipation) and in infancy and childhood
  • evidence on dietary carbohydrate and cardio-metabolic health (including cardiovascular disease, insulin resistance, glycaemic response and obesity)
  • evidence in respect to dietary carbohydrates and oral health
  • terminology, classification and definitions of types of carbohydrates in the diet

Membership

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

The members are:

  • Dr David Mela, SACN
  • Professor Timothy Key, SACN
  • Professor Ian Young, SACN
  • Professor Angus Walls, SACN
  • Professor Julie Lovegrove, SACN
  • Professor Ian Johnson, Expert in diet and colorectal health and disease, Institute of Food Research

Minutes

2015 meetings scheduled for 13 January

View the Carbohydrates Working Group minutes and papers

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

News

SACN Carbohydrates and Health report

The finalised SACN Carbohydrates and Health report has now been published. You can also read the SACN press release (PDF, 350KB, 3 pages)

SACN are pleased that the Carbohydrate Working Group received a substantial number of responses to the public consultation on the draft Carbohydrates and Health report, the results of which can now be read.

SACN Vitamin D and Health public consultation

The draft SACN Vitamin D and Health report has been published for public consultation. Read the report and supporting documents, and respond to the consultation.

Appointments to SACN

Professor Charlotte Wright has been appointed for 3 years beginning on 1st June 2015. Professor Ian MacDonald, Professor Paul Haggerty and Dr David Mela have each been reappointed through open competition for 3 years beginning on 1st June 2015, 1st January 2016 and 1st August 2015 respectively.

The following members have each been reappointed for 2 years: Professor Peter Aggett (from 1st August 2015); Professor Harry McArdle (from 1st November 2015); and Professor Susan Lanham-New (from 1st November 2015).

The following members have each been reappointed for 3 years: Professor Tim Key (from 1st August 2015); Dr Stella Walsh (from 1st August 2015); Dr Anthony Williams (from 1st August 2015); and Professor Julie Lovegrove (from 1st November 2015)

As members they will receive £160 per meeting and expenses in line with Public Health England policy. The time commitment is 10 days per year, including at least 3 meetings per year.

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