March 26, 2024

International Food Information Council Publishes Science Communications Guide On National Science Appreciation Day 

Supporting food and nutrition communicators to convey credible information to the public and build trust in science  

(Washington, D.C.) — In the wake of years marked by misinformation and polarization, trust in science is on the decline.¹ The spread of misinformation on social media, the politicization of scientific issues, and sensationalized headlines have all contributed to this erosion of trust. As a result, efforts to bridge the gap between the scientific community and the public have become increasingly crucial: Now, more than ever, scientific literacy—and tools to help increase scientific literacy—are critical. 

Understanding this need, the International Food Information Council (IFIC) recently published a new science communications guidance document, Understanding & Interpreting Food & Health Scientific Studies: Guidance For Food & Nutrition Communicators, fulfilling IFIC’s mission to effectively communicate science-based information on food safety, nutrition, and sustainable food systems. In publishing this document, IFIC celebrates scientific advancements and seeks to build trust in science by making science accessible and approachable.  

“Consumers are inundated with conflicting food and nutrition information every day, causing confusion about what action, if any, they should take to improve their health,” Wendy Reinhardt Kapsak, MS, RDN, IFIC President & CEO, said. “We see the Understanding & Interpreting Food & Health Scientific Studies guidance document as an invaluable resource for anyone seeking to communicate scientific concepts with clarity and impact. This document is a roadmap for communicators to navigate the complexities of science and engage audiences in meaningful dialogue,” Reinhardt Kapsak added.   

Designed specifically for mass communicators—including media, health professionals, and educators, among others—this guidance document encourages critical thinking in understanding and interpreting food- and health-related scientific studies. Key features include: 

  • Overview of the scientific process 
  • Explanation of the hierarchy of scientific evidence 
  • Clear definitions of complex scientific concepts and terms 
  • Practical tips for creating engaging science-based communications 
  • Guidance on “10 red flags of junk science” and “how to manage misinformation” 

“The diet and nutrition landscape is congested,” Milton Stokes, PhD, MPH, RD, IFIC Senior Director, Food & Nutrition, said. “While much of the content is credible, a hefty portion is not. We created this resource to promote better understanding of science by those reporting on and communicating scientific research.”  

A comprehensive stand-alone resource, this guidance document will inform a forthcoming science communication content hub, which will comprise additional audience-specific content and other shareable resources.   

“Translating scientific knowledge into comprehensible, credible, and compelling messages need not be a daunting task,” explained Timothy Sellnow, PhD, Risk Communication Specialist, Clemson University, IFIC Trustee, and expert reviewer of the paper. Understanding & Interpreting Food & Health Scientific Studies: Guidance For Food & Nutrition Communicators offers advice for making the science of food and nutrition broadly accessible for consumers. It’s a credible communication resource for all food and health communication contexts.” 

An additional expert reviewer, Andrew W. Brown, PhD, Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and Arkansas Children’s Research Institute said, “The science of food and health is difficult to unravel, so I applaud IFIC in continuing its mission in science communication with this new resource. It is a great primer to help communicators in the food and nutrition space discuss the strengths and nuances of science. I hope it inspires communicators to learn more about how research is completed and what research can tell us.”

Brown added, “Stronger, trustworthy, and transparent science communication is needed now more than ever, particularly when it comes to what people choose to eat and feed their families.”  

Visit to download the resource.  

¹Tyson BK and A. Americans’ Trust in Scientists, Positive Views of Science Continue to Decline. Pew Research Center Science & Society. Published November 14, 2023. 


The International Food Information Council (IFIC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization with a mission to effectively communicate science-based information about food safety, nutrition, and sustainable food systems, serving the public good. To fulfill this mission and demonstrate its thought leadership in action, IFIC: 1) delivers best-in-class research and consumer insights to inform food, nutrition, and health stakeholders; 2) promotes science communications to positively impact consumer behavior and public health; and 3) convenes critical thought leaders to advance the food systems dialogue and science-based decision-making. For more information, visit and our resource hub; Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter and sign up for our newsletter here.