Two new studies in the latest Journal of the American Dietetic Association set new standards for conflicts of interest in scientific research. Both reach essentially the same conclusion: that a strict vegan diet can (with careful monitoring) result in good overall health for children and even infants. While this would indeed be unusual and groundbreaking news if it were reliable, a closer look at the “scientists” presenting these reports raises some serious questions.

Virginia Messina sits on the scientific advisory board of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (an animal-rights front group posing as a nutrition-advocacy organization). She is also the author of two books: The Convenient Vegetarian and The Vegetarian Way. Not exactly an open-minded and unbiased researcher. Messina’s lab partner, Ann Reed Mangels, is also hard to consider impartial. A board member of the Vegetarian Resource Group in Baltimore, Mangels wrote a chapter of Debra Wasserman’s 1999 book Simply Vegan, in which she openly advocated meat- and milk-free diets for all children.