Washington, DC – – Richard Berman, Executive Director of The Center for Consumer Freedom testified today before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law on the intent of trial attorneys to abuse the court system in order to cash in on hysteria over the nation’s “obesity epidemic.”

Berman’s congressional testimony comes as trial lawyers gather this weekend in Boston for a closed-door meeting to plot their assault in a program that is, according to their own words, “intended to encourage and support litigation against the food industry.” Participants in the meeting are even required to sign a sworn affidavit that they have not and will not work with the food industry until 2007. These tactics are evidence that they are not looking for common ground obesity solutions; they are looking for courtroom payoffs.

“The stakes are high. Most of the attorneys meeting at this pre-assault legal summit are veterans of multi-billion-dollar cigarette lawsuits, and they are desperately looking for ways to make their case that food—especially high-fat, high-calorie food—is the next tobacco,” Berman testified. “Where most of us see dinner, they see dollar signs.”

Berman also criticized George Washington University Law Professor John Banzhaf’s attempt to promote a flimsy theory about the supposedly “addictive” nature of certain foods. Banzhaf warned top fast food companies that they need to start warning their customers that their next cheeseburger could have a morphine-like effect. Banzhaf’s “proof” is from an article in the magazine New Scientist, a British consumer periodical that is not a scientific, peer-reviewed journal like The New England Journal of Medicine or the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In addition to New Scientist’s food addiction article other recent articles feature titles such as “Porn for Fish” and “Flying Cars Prepare for Takeoff.”

“Considering the amount of misdirection, junk science, and shameless deception being employed by the plaintiff’s bar, it’s clear that restaurants need some reasonable amount of protection from the unprincipled attacks that are fast approaching,” Berman concluded.

“Apparently, the trial lawyers are no longer able to police themselves, so Congress must step in and play the part of the adult.”