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Scientific Integrity Order Talking Points

The United States Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration need to hear public support for reforms that help restore scientific integrity to federal policymaking. The talking points below can help shape your comments about the ways these two agencies can create policies that include all of the necessary regulations to protect the integrity of science.

Suggested talking points:

-On March 9, 2009, President Obama issued a scientific integrity memorandum which outlined core principles of scientific integrity in the federal government.

-USDA and FDA scientific integrity policies must be broadened to take the comprehensive approach embodied in the President’s scientific integrity memo.

-A comprehensive scientific integrity policy must ensure that scientists who report political interference in their work may do so without fear of retaliation.

-The policy should always allow a scientist to speak freely about his or her research and to offer his or her scientific opinions as a private citizen who is not representing official agency policy.

-USDA and FDA should follow the example of the Fish and Wildlife Service's publications policy, which stipulates that for non-official materials and scientific work done on an employee’s personal time, authors should have the option of bypassing any policy review and are free to publish the work, provided that the work includes an appropriate disclaimer.

-All agencies should institute a transparency policy for meetings with outside entities, including making visitor logs available in real time.

-The policy should ensure that USDA and FDA disclose more information about how regulations are developed including a stated scientific rationale for any decision informed by science.

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