A tip of the Consumer Freedom hat to Frank Tate, who did a number on the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and its executive director Michael Jacobson in his column last week for the popular online news site Scoop. The whole piece is worth a read, but the highlight is Tate’s dead-on description of CSPI’s fact-challenged modus operandi:

[S]o disingenuous has been Jacobson’s claims that he has earned the rare distinction of being called various things in the media – ranging from the benign "Consumer Advocate" to the less flattering "Nutrition Terrorist," "Terrorist," "Food Cop," "Killjoy," "Food Fascist," "Food Nazi" etc. In fact, the latter labels appear with such stunning regularity in the media that few men could have been so definitively defined.Jacobson, to put it mildly, is guilty of utter disregard for the truth and scientific facts, frequently exaggerating figures and claims to advance CSPI’s own agenda. …Health claims or the converse, "un-healthy" claims, of course, have to be backed by rational science. However, these are matters that CSPI, despite their grandiose and associative-scientific sounding name, would have difficulty in delivering. Throwing figures and "facts" that would fail to pass muster for a secondary school science project, CSPI recklessly and with gay abandon, continues to launch fresh attacks …

On a related note, last week’s Asian Week interviewed restaurant owners from San Francisco’s Chinatown to gauge their reaction to CSPI’s recently released report on the "dangerously high" calorie and salt content of popular Asian entrees. Grant Place’s Albert Chang remarked that "Chinese food is usually eaten family-style, so it is not accurate to say the sodium count for one dish is too much for one person." And Andrew Poon, an assistant manager of Far East Café, said he "usually see[s] people adding salt and soy sauce in their food because it’s not salty enough. There’s so many different kinds and types of Chinese food, it’s unfair to say all Chinese food is salty."