Mark your calendars for what promises to be the year's most important holiday for food zealots and animal rights fanatics. America’s most notorious diet scolds at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) announced yesterday that they have designated October 24, 2011 as (drum roll please) “Food Day.” The event is sure to be CSPI’s attempt to forever change the way Americans choose their food and eat it.
CSPI president Michael Jacobson announced that “Food Day” will save us from the “typical American diet [that] is basically killing us.” The nationwide event will wag its proverbial finger at several farm-to-food targets that CSPI has consistently failed to sue into submission—though not for lack of trying—throughout its 40-year existence.
Helping Jacobson fulfill his prophetic vision of a joyless eating utopia will be a virtual Who’s Who of the food fringe, including:
Michael Pollan – A journalism professor who opposes modern farming techniques because he prefers to fantasize about the meals our ancestors used to whip up from only a handful of raw ingredients. (No one is nostalgically dreaming of a return to 19th-century medical practices, so why argue that food isn’t “real” if our great-grandmothers wouldn’t recognize it?)
Caldwell Esselstyn – While the PETA-linked Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) hasn’t been tapped as a co-sponsor of CSPI’s inaugural celebration, you might as well consider Esselstyn PCRM’s unofficial goodwill ambassador. A cancer surgeon by day, Esselstyn moonlights as a vegan evangelist for PCRM’s lab-coated animal rights activists.
Kelly Brownell – Yale University’s resident obesity hysteric and creator of the “Twinkie tax.” Brownell's job involves repeatedly demonizing whole categories of food and thinking of ways to get people not to consume them—like arguing that the tax code should be used to nudge everybody in the “correct” direction.
Marion Nestle – Food maven and former CSPI board member who takes pleasure in chipping away at Americans’ sweet tooth. Speaking to The New York Times in 1996, Nestle made it clear that her primary agenda is not pro-nutrition, but anti-corporate: “I like it better when Mike [Jacobson of CSPI] takes on the big corporations like McDonald’s,” she said. “I like it less well when he takes on mom and pop outfits like Chinese restaurants.”
Alice Waters – Organic-everything evangelist and celebrity chef who the late Julia Childs said annoyed her “with this endless talk of pollutants and toxins.” Waters has denied being a food “elitist” for wanting lower-income Americans to “budget for high-dollar [organic] groceries.”
The Humane Society of the United States – Despite sharing part of its name with animal welfare organizations dedicated to finding “forever homes” for displaced cats and dogs, this animal-rights behemoth uses its $191 million (and growing) war chest to discourage Americans from eating meat no matter how humanely it’s produced.
We’ve grown accustomed to hearing about prominent activist groups predicting, if not promising, millions will be in attendance at their marches and rallies. It’s curious to note that Michael Jacobson and CSPI make no such claim in their initial publicity pushes. Perhaps that’s because just like CSPI’s frivolous lawsuits and high-profile scare campaigns, they tend to fizzle and fade once people realize who’s behind all the hype. On a side note, perhaps it’s fate that “Food Day” is also National Bologna Day. It’s something CSPI certainly has in abundance.