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Cornell review finds academic misconduct by food researcher

Brian Wansink's research claims consumers who grocery shop hungry buy foods with higher calorie counts

A prominent Cornell University food researcher resigned after an investigation found he committed academic misconduct, including misreporting data, the school announced Thursday.

Brian 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.

Wansink had previously helped update the U.S. dietary guidelines and is known for his research on consumer behaviour, which has been widely cited including in articles by The Associated Press.

Cornell says Wansink's academic misconduct also included "problematic statistical techniques, failure to properly document and preserve research results, and inappropriate authorship."

Thursday's announcement comes a day after six more of Wansink's papers were retracted. The most recent retractions included a 2005 paper that said people eat more when served in large bowls and a 2013 article that said grocery shoppers buy food with more calories when they're hungry.

The JAMA network of journals retracted the papers after the university said it didn't have access to the original data to verify the results. Wansink said in response Wednesday that he did not keep the original "pencil and paper surveys and coding sheets" after the data from them were combined into spreadsheets. He said he was proud of the papers and was confident they'll be replicated by others.

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

Seven other of Wansink's papers had been previously retracted, according to the website Retraction Watch.

Cornell said Wansink would spend the remainder of his time at the school co-operating with the university's ongoing review of his research.

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