I am completely unqualified to issue scientific opinions, but that’s about all I have in common with the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI),” writes former Congressman Bob Barr in this morning’s Washington Times. Barr’s op-ed takes the self-labeled “food police” to task, dispelling many of the myths CSPI employs to maintain its credibility. He writes: “The organization wants the public to assume it does research, when what it really does is troll through thousands of scientific journals to pinpoint research that supports its pre-existing political agenda.

Examples of CSPI’s science cherry-picking include its bogus assault on salt, its call for misleading labels on fish, and its hyperbolic claims about food marketing. Barr continued:

CSPI is not content with merely basing its case on scientists who agree with it. It attempts to leverage policy pressure to smear scientists who reach conclusions different from its predetermined political agenda …

This, of course, is antithetical to everything true science represents. Science does not need coercion from pressure groups to function or prevail. In utilizing such tactics, CSPI is acting no differently than, for example, a corporation suing or smearing a scientist who wrote a journal article finding flaws in one of its products.

And this doesn’t even cover the contempt with which CSPI regards the average American. The silent majority in this country, Barr writes, doesn’t appreciate CSPI “trying to limit our choices by forcing those who provide consumer products that lack the CSPI ‘seal of approval’ to stop providing such products.” The recent CSPI lawsuit complaining that fried chicken isn’t health food (surprise!) is just one of the more absurd examples of what these food cops have been doing for years.