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Keywords:

  • Randomized trials;
  • livestock;
  • challenge studies and standards

Summary

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.