Last Friday, speaking at a Food and Drug Administration Workshop on Food Fears, the Center for Consumer Freedom unmasked the perpetrators behind our nation’s phony food scares. By exposing the politics and money that drives the scaremongers, CCF showed the FDA why it should discount the claims of agenda-driven activists. Click here to read the full speech.

Here are a few highlights from CCF’s presentation:

John Stauber: As one of the driving forces over-hyping the mad cow scare — Stauber is no more than a muckraking activist-slash-“independent journalist” with a serious axe to grind. Stauber’s book, Mad Cow USA, was written with a grant from the Foundation for Deep Ecology, whose other grantees are a gaggle of radical greens, anti-globalists, and opponents of technological progress. Stauber also sits on the national policy board of the Organic Consumers Association — whose leader has openly wished that a British-style “crisis of confidence” in American beef would drive millions of consumers toward organic options. In all his blather, Stauber reliably fails to point out that the actual risk of contracting mad cow from tainted beef is “as close to zero as you can get.”

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM): Lurking behind this respectable-sounding name is a group of animal rights radicals. In this so-called “physicians” group, only one out of every 20 members actually graduated from medical school. PCRM has received $1.3 million dollars from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and its president (a vegetarian psychiatrist named Neal Barnard) is also president of the PETA Foundation. As part of his ongoing battle against all things dairy, Barnard told an FDA panel last year that cheese is literally addictive — calling it “morphine on a cracker” and “dairy crack.”

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI): You may know them as “The Food Police.” When a group of Swedish scientists first announced that the chemical Acrylamide was found in higher-than-expected concentrations in fried potatoes and baked breads, the CSPI scare machine kicked into high gear. It filed a regulatory petition with the FDA, claiming that “dietary Acrylamide causes an estimated 8,900 cancers per year, or 670,000 over the [U.S.] population’s lifetime.” Simply put, this number was fabricated. Eventually, CSPI admitted that its risk-assessment methods were out of date, leading to an error of “several-fold” proportions. Meanwhile, the journal Nature wrote that “high levels of Acrylamide in foods such as chips, crisps and bread do not seem to raise the risk of cancer.”

Who knows what the next big food scare will be? Arsenic in Anchovies? PCBs in Passover matzah? Endangered cheeses? A report that genetically modified wheat leads to erectile dysfunction? Press releases claiming chicken nuggets made Pete Rose bet on baseball?

Whatever the false alarm, it will almost certainly have been triggered by the usual suspects.