The REFLECT Statement: Methods and Processes of Creating Reporting Guidelines for Randomized Controlled Trials for Livestock and Food Safety by Modifying the CONSORT Statement


  • A. M. O’Connor,

  • J. M. Sargeant,

  • I. A. Gardner,

  • J. S. Dickson,

  • M. E. Torrence,

  • Consensus Meeting Participants,

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      Addresses included in Appendix.

  • C. E. Dewey,

  • I. R. Dohoo,

  • R. B. Evans,

  • J. T. Gray,

  • M. Greiner,

  • G. Keefe,

  • S. L. Lefebvre,

  • P. S. Morley,

  • A. Ramirez,

  • W. Sischo,

  • D. R. Smith,

  • K. Snedeker,

  • J. Sofos,

  • M. P. Ward,

  • R. Wills

  • The REFLECT statement is also published in Journal of Food Protection, Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, Zoonoses and Public Health, Preventive Veterinary Medicine and Journal of Swine Health and Production. Authors can use any one of these references when citing REFLECT. The REFLECT Statement should be read in conjunction with the REFLECT Explanation and Elaboration Document published in the Journal of Food Protection and Zoonoses and Public Health. These materials are available at the REFLECT statement website

A. M. O’Connor. Veterinary Diagnostic & Production Animal Med, Veterinary Medicine Research Institute Building 4, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA. Tel.: +15 152 945 012; Fax: +15 152 941 072; E-mail:


The conduct of randomized controlled trials in livestock with production, health and food-safety outcomes presents unique challenges that may not be adequately reported in trial reports. The objective of this project was to modify the CONSORT (Consolidated Standards of Reporting Trials) statement to reflect the unique aspects of reporting these livestock trials. A 2-day consensus meeting was held on 18–19 November 2008 in Chicago, IL, USA, to achieve the objective. Prior to the meeting, a Web-based survey was conducted to identify issues for discussion. The 24 attendees were biostatisticians, epidemiologists, food-safety researchers, livestock-production specialists, journal editors, assistant editors and associate editors. Prior to the meeting, the attendees completed a Web-based survey indicating which CONSORT statement items may need to be modified to address unique issues for livestock trials. The consensus meeting resulted in the production of the REFLECT (Reporting Guidelines for Randomized Control Trials) statement for livestock and food safety and 22-item checklist. Fourteen items were modified from the CONSORT checklist and an additional sub-item was proposed to address challenge trials. The REFLECT statement proposes new terminology, more consistent with common usage in livestock production, to describe study subjects. Evidence was not always available to support modification to or inclusion of an item. The use of the REFLECT statement, which addresses issues unique to livestock trials, should improve the quality of reporting and design for trials reporting production, health and food-safety outcomes.