By Kristine Marsh \ Newsbusters
The D.C.-based Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) ran a full page “open letter” in Variety, telling pop singer Katy Perry to stop her work with Pepsi, on account of her influencing young fans. CSPI warned Perry that, “Soda companies are using you and other celebrities.” The letter then bashed her for not caring about her fans. ‘‘Drink Pepsi and you can be cool like Katy Perry’ is the takeaway message for your young fans. ‘Live for now’ – and worry about the health consequences later.” The letter ended by urging her not to “exploit that popularity by marketing a product that causes disease in your fans.”
In the past few years, CSPI has gone after McDonald’s Happy Meals, Vitamin Water, and flavored cereals, among other things. The CSPI website warns of the dangers of milk, meat, salt, sugar, trans fats, food additives, artificial sugar, caffeine and alcohol, to name a few. Over the years, CSPI has gone after everything from vending machines to kids menus. It frequently equates common substances like sugar and salt to disease-causing agents, ignoring the fact that these foods can be enjoyed in moderation without adverse health effects. Though CSPI calls itself a consumer advocacy group, it has acted more like the food police.
It’s not just that CSPI hypes up the dangers of certain foods, but that it wants the FDA and other government agencies to ban these foods and ingredients from being allowed in the free market. It has tried to control restaurant menus, school lunches, and hospital vending machines. The organization has even filed several lawsuits against soda companies and restaurants for not subscribing to its ideal healthy menu.
As an alarmist, pro-government regulation group, of course it has been a media favorite for years.
Michael Jacobson, the group’s executive director, told CBS’ “Morning News” February 14, 2013, about his group’s campaigning for the FDA to require less sugar in sodas. “When you`re faced with a diabetes epidemic, the situation in which two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese, the government has a responsibility to do something about that.”
CSPI members have been frequently interviewed by TV news reporters with no introduction or explanation that they were food and drink regulating lobbyists. In the past year, CSPI members were interviewed on the morning and evening news 20 times, and a spokesperson from the business or industry CSPI was targeting was never interviewed in the same segment.
CSPI is also supporting a local ad campaign that singles out and bashes Coca-Cola The commercial, which will air in Maryland starting the last week in October, features campaign workers walking around and trading cans of Coke for water and lower-calorie beverages.