Rights: The University of Waikato Published 1 February 2007 Download

Testing the effect of foods on people's energy levels is a key part of the Lifestyle Foods programme. What do the researchers need to do to ensure that the research is ethical?


Sarah Eady (Plant & Food Research) We’ve got a standard consent form that’s gone through the Ethics Committee, so they’ve looked at that and checked out all the questions we’re asking and on that consent form.

It explains everything that those [test] people are going to do; it gives them the opportunity to ask for an interpreter; it tells them how many times they’re going to have to come in for the testing; what we expect of them; and what they can expect of us.

And so we give them that consent form to read and they go through and tick all the boxes and if they don’t agree with any of the questions, they can also put a negative answer. Then they sign it to say that they’re happy with everything that’s been explained to them, and we double sign it to say that we’ve explained it and that we were there in the presence of them signing that consent form.

Participants that are in the trials we’re running have got all the information that’s relevant to that trial so they know exactly what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, and that they can drop out at any time if they want to, and they can ask as many questions as they like to make them feel comfortable.

We’re constrained by ethics. We can't do something - we can’t take extra blood for other reasons, other than the glucose testing. We can’t use that data for anything other than what we’re using it for, and we have to keep that data secure and safe at all times so that it’s not available for other people.