Will the “food police” be nationalized?

In this bizarre Washington world, it can’t possibly be true, but it is: a top staffer at the lobbying organization often pejoratively referred to as the “Food Police” is one of two candidates in line to be the nation’s top food safety guru.

According to news reports, Caroline Smith DeWaal, a top food alarmist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), may be named head of the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

CSPI is the group that railed against food irradiation even when just about every major international and domestic food group and public health official extolled its virtues in helping to prevent food-borne disease outbreaks. This is the group that campaigns against fat yet waged a scientifically inaccurate campaign against the fat substitute Olestra. This is also the group that opposes carnivore eating habits, yet hyperventilated about Quorn, a meat substitute. Again, CSPI is the group that tried to terrify people about acrylamide — a naturally occurring substance formed in starches cooked at high temperatures.

Their lack of scientific evidence for much of their fear-mongering, however, doesn’t stop them from attacking sugar, caffeine, saccharin alcohol, whole milk – and any other substance that doesn’t suit their lifestyle choices.

Next to CSPI’s founder, Michael Jacobson, Smith DeWaal is the leading food alarmist at the group, and, according to the Washington Times, has lobbied–

. . . the White House, Congress, the USDA, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the departments of Interior, Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Justice on matters concerning food safety.

The center spent $610,000 in the past two years, according to Senate records, to lobby the House and Senate.

Smith DeWaal previously worked for Public Voice for Food and Health Policy and a subgroup of the Ralph Nader-founded group, Public Citizen.

Check out what Reason columnist Jacob Sullum has written about CSPI. Also check out this and the many articles critiquing the group by the American Council on Science and Health.