Cornell Food Researcher Resigns After Charges of Academic Misconduct

Brian Wansink, a noted food researcher based at Cornell University, has resigned after an investigation found he misreported data in numerous studies, the university announced Thursday.

Wansink has been removed from all teaching and research positions and will retire at the end of the school year next June, Cornell said in a statement.

According to the Associated Press, Wansink had a hand in updating the U.S. dietary guidelines. He is best known for his widely cited work on consumer behavior, much of which has now been cast into doubt.

According to the website Retraction Watch, seven of Wansink's papers had already been retracted by journals. On Wednesday, the prestigious JAMA network of journals retracted six more academic papers produced over the years by Wansink's lab at Cornell.

One paper, published in 2005, had found that people eat more when served in large bowls; another, published in 2013, found that shoppers buy more high-calorie foods when they are hungry.

In Cornell's announcement, the university said Wansink's academic misconduct included "problematic statistical techniques, failure to properly document and preserve research results, and inappropriate authorship." Critics claim Wansink "cherry-picked" data to help support previously determined conclusions -- a no-no in academic research.

Cornell said Wansink will spend the remainder of his time at the university cooperating with the ongoing review into his research.

Wansink on Wednesday issued a statement saying he was retiring after 14 years, but did not respond to emailed requests from the AP for further comment.

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