Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)

SACN advises on nutrition and related health matters. It advises Public Health England and other UK government organisations.



We are currently recruiting SACN members.


Terms of Reference

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 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.

Code of Practice

The SACN Code of Practice (PDF, 510KB, 27 pages) sets out how the committee puts into practice the guidelines governing scientific advisory committees, such as the Government Office for Science Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees.

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 Professor Ann Prentice, Director of MRC Elsie Widdowson Laboratory. The deputy chair is Professor Peter Aggett, Professor Emeritus, Lancashire School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health, University of Central Lancashire.

The members are:

  • Ms Gill Fine, Public Health Nutritionist
  • Dr Darren Greenwood, Senior Lecturer in Biostatistics, University of Leeds
  • Professor Paul Haggarty, Deputy Director, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen
  • Professor Susan Jebb, Professor Of Diet And Population Health, University of Oxford
  • Professor Susan Lanham-New, Head of the Nutritional Sciences Department, 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 Macdonald, Professor of Metabolic Physiology at the University of Nottingham
  • Professor Harry McArdle, Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Sciences, Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health, University of Aberdeen
  • Dr David Mela (Industry member), Senior Scientist, Unilever R&D Vlaardingen, the Netherlands
  • Dr Ken Ong, Professor of Paediatric Epidemiology, University of Cambridge
  • Mrs Gemma Paramor (Lay member), Finance professional in accounting and fund management
  • Professor Hilary Powers, Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry, Department of Oncology and Metabolism, University of Sheffield
  • Professor Sian Robinson, Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology, University of Southampton
  • Professor Angus Walls, Professor of Restorative Dentistry and Director of the Edinburgh Dental Institute, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Stella Walsh (Consumer member)
  • Professor Charlotte Wright, Professor of Community Child Health, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Ian Young, Professor of Medicine, Queen’s University Belfast

Further information on committee members is included in the SACN Annual Report 2017.

Register of Interests

The SACN Register of Interests (PDF, 989KB, 76 pages) contains details of all declarations of interest by members of SACN, its subgroup and working groups. This information is updated as and when declarations are made.

SACN meetings

2018 meetings scheduled for 13 March, 19 June and 8 November.
2019 meetings scheduled for 27 March, 18 June and 5 November.

Minutes

The following documents 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 Ken Ong, SACN.

The members are:

  • Professor Peter Aggett, SACN
  • Professor Annie S Anderson, Professor of Public Health Nutrition, University of Dundee
  • Professor Alan A Jackson, Institute of Human Nutrition, Southampton General Hospital
  • Professor Mairead Kiely, Professor of Human Nutrition, University College Cork
  • Professor Lucilla Poston, Tommy’s Professor of Maternal and Fetal Health, Head of School of Life Course Sciences, King’s College London
  • Professor Ann Prentice, SACN
  • Professor Monique Raats, SACN
  • Professor Sian Robinson, Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology, University of Southampton
  • Professor Angus Walls, SACN
  • Dr Stella Walsh, SACN
  • Professor Charlotte Wright, SACN

Further information on subgroup members is included in the SACN Annual Report 2017.

Minutes

2018 meetings scheduled for 1 February, 10 May and 25 September.
2019 meetings scheduled for 30 January, 22 May and 2 October.

The following documents 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


Joint SACN - NHS England - Diabetes UK working group to review the evidence on lower carbohydrate diets (alongside higher fat and/or higher protein) compared to current government advice for adults with type 2 diabetes.

Terms of reference

  • The terms of reference will added once they have been confirmed by the joint working group.

Membership

The working group is co-chaired by Professor Ian Macdonald (SACN) and Mr Douglas Twenefour (Diabetes UK).

The members are:

  • Professor Peter Aggett (SACN)
  • Dr Pamela Dyson (Research dietitian, University of Oxford)
  • Professor Nita Forouhi (Programme Leader, MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge)
  • Dr Rachel Pryke (GP, Redditch, Worcestershire)
  • Professor Roy Taylor (Professor of Medicine and Metabolism, University of Newcastle)
  • Ms Ruth Waxman (Lay member)
  • Professor Ian Young (SACN)

Minutes

2018 meetings scheduled for 16 May, 13 September and 12 December. Meetings are held in closed session.

The following documents are now available:


Saturated Fats Working Group

Terms of reference

  • to review the evidence for the relationship between saturated fats and health and make recommendations
  • to review evidence on the association between saturated fatty acids and key risk factors and health outcomes at different life stages for the general UK population

Membership

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

The members are:

  • Professor Jules Griffin, University of Cambridge
  • Professor Timothy Key, SACN
  • Professor Mairead Kiely, SMCN
  • Professor Julie Lovegrove, SACN
  • Dr David Mela, SACN
  • Mrs Gemma Paramor, SACN
  • Professor Ian Young, SACN

Minutes

2018 meetings scheduled for 25 January (teleconference), 26 July and 5 October.
2019 meeting scheduled for 31 January.
Meetings are held in closed session.

The following documents are now available:

View the Saturated Fats Working Group minutes and papers.


Older Adults Working Group

Terms of reference

  • The terms of reference are in the process of being agreed.

Membership

The working group is chaired by Ms Gill Fine, SACN.

The members are:

  • Professor Harry McArdle, SACN
  • Professor Sian Robinson, SACN
  • Professor Angus Walls, SACN
  • Dr Stella Walsh, SACN

Minutes

2018 meetings scheduled for 24 July (teleconference) and 14 September.
2019 meetings scheduled for 7 February, 7 May and 24 September.
Meetings are held in closed session.

The following documents are now available:

View all Older Adults Working Group minutes.


Archived Groups

Joint SACN-COT Potassium-based Sodium Replacers Working Group

The Joint SACN-COT Potassium-based Sodium Replacers Working Group has been disbanded following the completion of its work and publication of the SACN-COT statements on potassium-based sodium replacers. In addition to the statements, you can view details of the joint working group (held by National Archives) and the working group’s minutes and papers (held by COT).

Joint SACN-COT Working Group on the timing of introduction of allergenic foods into the infant diet

The Joint SACN-COT Working Group on the timing of introduction of allergenic foods into the infant diet has been disbanded following the completion of its work and publication of the SACN-COT statement on the introduction of peanut and hen’s egg into the infant diet. In addition to the statement, you can view details of the joint working group (held by National Archives) and the working group’s minutes and papers (held by COT).

Military Energy DRVs Working Group

The Military Energy DRVs Working Group has been disbanded following the completion of its work and publication of the SACN Statement on Military Dietary Reference Values for Energy. In addition to the statement, you can view the details of the Military Energy DRVs Working Group, which are held in the National Archives and the Military Energy DRVs Working Group minutes and papers.

Vitamin D Working Group

The Vitamin D Working Group has been disbanded following the completion of its work and publication of the SACN Vitamin D and Health report. In addition to the report, you can view the SACN press release on the vitamin D report (PDF, 195KB, 2 pages) , the results of the public consultation and details of the Vitamin D Working Group, which are held in the National Archives.

View the Vitamin D Working Group minutes and papers from 2014 until the completion of its work.

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

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.

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


Recruitment of SACN Members

Specialist Members - The Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN)

Ref: SACN1819

Public Health England is looking to appoint up to 5 specialist members to the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN). SACN is a UK wide Advisory Committee set up to provide advice to Public Health England as well as other government agencies and departments. Its remit includes matters concerning nutrient content of individual foods, advice on diet and the nutritional status of people.

The Committee meets three times per year and is made up of specialists from a range of relevant disciplines. The specialist members will be expected to contribute robust views representing the interests of the wider public.

Applications are sought in particular from nutritionists / public health nutritionists, clinicians and researchers with specialist knowledge in one or more of the following areas:

  • Micronutrients (vitamins and/or minerals and/or trace nutrients)
  • Diet and disease development
  • Nutrition and population diversity and vulnerabilities

Candidates should have a good understanding of the public health nutrition aspects of the area of expertise from the list above; with a track record of significant achievement and personal effectiveness and the ability to contribute robust technical views. SACN welcomes applications from within and outside the UK.

Remuneration will be £160 per meeting for a time commitment of up to 10 days per year. Public Health England’s Senior Responsible Officer determines the length of appointments, which may be for up to a maximum of 3 years.

If you are interested in applying for membership of SACN, please consult the information pack (PDF, 317KB, 17 pages) . Please include the completed diversity monitoring form (ODT, 251KB) in your application. Public Health England is committed to the appointment of disabled people and operates a guaranteed interview scheme (MS Word Document, 137KB) .

The closing date for applications is midday on 26 November 2018.

Public Health England values and promotes diversity and encourages applications from all sections of the community.




News

SACN is recruiting members

We are currently recruiting SACN members. Further details are available in the section ‘Recruitment of SACN Members’.

SACN report on Feeding in the First Year of Life

The SACN report on Feeding in the First Year of Life was published on 17 July. You can also view documents related to the consultation on the draft report. The documents include comments submitted during consultation and the response to each of these from SACN.

Consultation on ‘Saturated Fat and Health’ draft report

SACN’s consultation on its draft report ‘Saturated Fat and Health’ is open for scientific comment until 5pm on 3 July 2018. You can download the consultation invitation, the consultation response form and the draft report from the consultation website.

Some background and a summary of the report’s draft recommendations are provided in this news story.

SACN statement on diet, cognitive impairment and dementias has been published

The SACN statement on diet, cognitive impairment and dementias has been published on 28 February 2018.

SACN Annual Report 2017 published

The SACN Annual Report for the calendar year 2017 has now been published.

Publication of SACN and COT statements on potassium-based sodium replacers

The statements from SACN and the Committee on Toxicity (COT) on the health benefits and risks of using potassium-based sodium replacers in the UK was published on 22 November 2017.

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
Wellington House (floor 7S)
133 to 155 Waterloo Road
London
SE1 8UG

SACN@phe.gov.uk


Press office: 020 7654 8400
Out of hours: 020 8200 4400
phe-pressoffice@phe.gov.uk