Earlier this summer, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) bellyached to the FDA about omega-3-enriched eggs that promised "heart health" on the carton. The group’s executive director, Michael Jacobson, warned the press that the promotion would "bilk health-conscious consumers" and "hoodwink shoppers with a myriad of misleading and downright inaccurate claims." But the real consumer confusion isn’t over grocery aisle promotions — it’s over health-scare hype.
Today’s Los Angeles Times supported the science behind eggs’ nutritional claims, and CSPI ended up with yolk on its face: "Some researchers say that the confusion over blood cholesterol and dietary cholesterol may have resulted in the egg getting a far worse reputation than it deserves." And eggs’ reputation isn’t the only casualty of CSPI’s grocery gestapo. The group has attacked everything from milk to popcorn, creating nutritional tunnel vision on the food scare du jour.
CSPI is aware of the ramifications of its over-the-top message. Jacobson told the Associated Press this weekend that the very same trans fat labels that CSPI campaigned to put on packaged foods may lead to consumers "focusing too much on the trans fat content alone and not considering other ingredients." But — even though the food cops realize that zeroing in on a single item hurts broader nutritional messages — they’re still pushing for myopic measures like menu-labeling.