There they go again. The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) complains to the New Orleans Times-Picayune that snack foods are to blame for rising obesity numbers. Michael Jacobson, CSPI’s executive director, says that anyone who claims otherwise (including university researchers) must be bankrolled by evil snack corporations. CSPI has even added a new shingle to its collection, the “Integrity in Science Project,” to root out and expose the funding sources of any research that Jacobson finds suspect.
Of course, CSPI has its own financial baggage; perhaps it should first focus its new magnifying glass inward. Take CSPI’s opposition to Olestra, for example. You’d think that the Food Police would support alternatives to saturated fat, especially one that the FDA declared was “safe for use in savory snacks.” But CSPI has been a long-time opponent of this fat substitute, claiming again and again that its own “independent” research uncovered the product’s harmfulness. Perhaps CSPI’s surprising anti-Olestra position was influenced by the $40,000 in grants it accepted during 1998 and 1999 from the Helena Rubenstein Foundation for “public education on [the] health effects of olestra.” Food cop, heal thyself.