Networks Copy Anti-Business Group's Press Release

     Once again, the food police have showed an unrelenting inclination to attack any sort of food they deem unhealthy, using any means necessary to achieve their goals.


     This time, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is going after food coloring, but not because clear data exists suggesting this substance poses a threat to the food supply. Rather, there “may” be a link between food dyes and hyperactive children. CSPI even had two network news shows, “CBS Evening News” and ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson,” broadcast its message straight from a press release.


     “The food police blew the whistle today on artificial food dyes,” “Evening News” anchor Katie Couric said. “A consumer group says there may be a link to hyperactivity in kids, and it wants some of those dyes banned.”


     According to “World News” anchor Charles Gibson, CSPI has petitioned the Food and Drug Administration for a ban on eight food dyes and warning labels in the meantime.


     “The food supply is essentially booby-trapped with thousands of foods that contain these offending chemical additives,” Michael Jacobson, executive director of CSPI, said on “Evening News.”


     However, both the ABC and the CBS broadcasts used the exact same people in their reports that were cited in a CSPI press release issued on June 2, such as Judy Mann, a Silver Springs, Md., resident.


     “That’s what Judy Mann did six months ago – removing anything with chemical dyes from her son’s diet” ABC correspondent Lisa Stark said. “Mann is convinced that Jake, who suffers from ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder] is now calmer.” “‘We spent years trying to figure out the cause of our son's behavioral problems,’ said Judy Mann, of Silver Spring, Md.” in the CSPI release.


      “Evening News” included two sources cited in the CSPI release. It used Beth Tribble, a Fairfax County, Va., parent of two boys, according to the release, and Dr. David Schab, a psychiatrist at ColumbiaUniversityMedicalCenter.


     “There’s no purpose from these dyes to be in our food,” Tribble said to CBS.


     However, Business & Media Institute advisor and President of the American Council on Science and Health Elizabeth Whelan said these allegations are old-hat for the food police.


     “The idea these food additives could cause hyperactivity has been around since the 1970s,” Business Whelan said to BMI on June 4. “The Food & Drug Administration still has on their Web site that there’s no evidence to suggest that these trace colors are posing behavioral or any other problems.”


    She suggested CSPI and Jacobson are using food additives as a backdoor method to attack foods they deem “unhealthy.” She cited a June 3 Associated Press story quote of Jacobson as an indication that he is using this as a tactic to that appeal to children that he said have a “low-nutritional value.”


     “You have to look beyond this and say, ‘Why is Jacobson doing this?’” Whelan said. “If you read the AP story, he’s basically saying that food manufacturers use these colors to make unhealthy more attractive. I think that’s his real agenda – that he doesn’t like certain foods. He has this dichotomy of good foods and bad foods, and he wants the bad foods discouraged or removed from the market.”