Food Police chief says ‘corporate power’ stops FDA from banning salt, sugar, fat; Guess what — CSPI is a $17 million ‘corporation’!

So it wouldn’t be “corporate power” if Michael Jacobson’s Center for Science in the Public Interest was successful in pressuring the FDA to make food taste worse?

ThinkProgress reports:

One might ask how salts, sugars, trans fats, and caffeine don’t fit that bill considering widespread evidence that those substances increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, thereby harming public wellness and increasing U.S. health care costs. In fact, government watchdogs and medical groups such as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the American Medical Association (AMA) have issued several calls for the FDA to crack down on those very ingredients.

But an outright ban on any of those substances (other than trans fats) is impossible — and undesirable — since the majority of food items require them in at least some amount. Rather, it’s excess consumption that makes the substances potentially dangerous. That’s where the FDA can step in by issuing regulatory rules that either set targets or impose reductions in harmful food content. But that’s also where they meet their greatest obstacle: the powerful food lobby.

“It’s corporate power,” said Dr. Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), in an interview with ThinkProgress. “For something like salt, or partially hydrogenated oil (trans fat), or sugar, there’s huge industries behind those substances. First there’s the manufacturers themselves, and then there’s the food companies that use their products. All those companies would be discomfited by an FDA ban or regulation, so they can then go to Congress and say, ‘Look at what the FDA is trying to do! It’s killing our business.’” Congress can then put pressure on the FDA by “cutting [its] appropriations or putting a rider in an FDA bill preventing it from imposing certain regulations,” according to Dr. Jacobson.

But CSPI’s most recent tax return indicates it too is a corporation — and a well-heeled one at that.

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Read more at ThinkProgress.


  1. Consumption can’t be controlled by fascist rule makers. That doesn’t stop them from trying to make rules. I have no doubt that the unintended consequence of the rules would be GREATER consumption of the offensive [sic] ingredients.

  2. For some people sugar, salt and fat makes their genetic illness and/or symptoms worse and may in fact increase their risk of heart attack. For most people these necessary foods are simply foods/nutrients and cause no harm. So why would the FDA want to regulate these foods any more then they should regulate flour, rice, chocolate, peanuts, bananas, etc.? Of course the answer is that the food bigots have a bias. They misinterpret studies, tell outright lies and exaggerate information to push their particular bias.

  3. “So why would the FDA want to regulate these foods any more then they should regulate flour, rice, chocolate, peanuts, bananas, etc.?”

    They want to regulate them all. We won’t let them. But they might get us to let them regulate sugar, salt and fat. We let them get away with regulating trans fat.

    They will continue to look for opportunities to regulate more. They will go after flour, rice, etc., as soon as they think they can get away with it.

    They practice incrementalism , waiting for opportunities. There is no finish line.

  4. CSPI calls itself a non-profit, yet it clearly profits from subscriptions to Nutrition Action. It wouldn’t surprise me if Jacobson personally pockets 90% of CSPI’s revenues. And he and his ilk have the gall to accuse Rick Berman of funnelling CCF’s donations to Berman & Company. Pot, meet kettle.


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