For Release: April 5, 2016
Contact: Judy Kent at (703) 759-7476 or [email protected]
War on Food and Free Speech Continues: Nanny State Activists Got Whistleblower Journalist 'Disinvited' from Consumer Federation of America National Conference
Journalist Has Uncovered Shoddy Science in Government Nutrition Advice That Led Americans to Avoid Certain Fats in Favor of Carbohydrates
Bad Advice in Part Led to Expanded Obesity, Diabetes Rates
But Nanny State Activists Want Americans to Rely on Government for Food Advice
Whistleblower Reporting About Bad Science is Extremely Inconvenient to Left-Wing Agenda
Goal of Liberal Activists is to Advance Government Control Over What You Eat, in Part to Fight Global Warming, in Part to Control Americans' Lives
Washington, D.C. - In a timely article for National Review Online today, National Center for Public Policy Research Risk Analysis Director Jeff Stier and food writer Julie Kelly criticize the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and nanny-state activists for silencing investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, a key critic of government-backed shoddy nutrition "science," at this week's CFA-sponsored National Food Policy Conference.
According to Stier, "We respectfully disagree with the left's preference for using the levers of government to tell us how to eat. First it was just nutritional 'advice'; then the advice started to influence everything from food stamps to how we feed the military. Now nannystaters want to put warning labels on salty foods, tax sodas, and ban ingredients."
Adds Stier, "We do not respect the left's latest tactic: silencing critics such as Nina Teicholz by forcing them off important public forums with McCarthyite tactics."
In the National Review Online piece, Kelly and Stier write:
Those special interests are now scheming to not only discredit but also outright silence Teicholz. Now, after some participants objected to her presence, the National Food Policy Conference, held this week in Washington, D.C., has disinvited her. Teicholz was scheduled to sit on a panel with the USDA and Center for Science in the Public Interest to discuss how to turn nutrition science into policy.
The silence will be a detriment to public health policymaking, according to Kelly, because, "There is a very good chance that Americans have been receiving poor nutrition advice from the government, medical community and others for more than five decades."
Referring to Teicholz's perspective, Kelly says, "It's a discussion worth having and very unfortunate that those who profess to have Americans' best interest at heart would prevent this debate from advancing."
The authors argue that the left's latest maneuver is outside the bounds of acceptable political tactics, even given today's overheated rancor. They write,
Of course this has little to do with science and everything to do with ideological agendas. Never before has food policy been so politicized, whether it's the Dietary Guidelines or the National School Lunch Program. For the most part, major decisions are being made by the same cabal of crusaders who refuse to countenance dissent or discussion even as the collective health of Americans continues to suffer.
Regardless of one's take on nutritional issues, or even the proper role of government in determining how and what we eat, one should agree that the campaign to silence Teicholz is distasteful. The National Food Policy Conference is billed by its organizer, the Consumer Federation of America, as "a key national gathering for those interested in agriculture, food, and nutrition policy." It could have been a much-needed forum for open discussion and debate among leading voices from different schools of thought. But now, because of the food fear-mongerers' fear of debate, it will be just another high-profile missed opportunity to raise the level of discourse in Washington.
"Censorship is a red flag," said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center. "Someone finds the information this journalist uncovered to be a threat to their agenda -- so much so, they moved secretly behind the scenes and got her disinvited from a speaking role. The Consumer Federation of America not only agreed to the censorship, but apparently has also kept secret who pressured it to do it. We disagree with both. Let the facts come out."
"Many major corporations and law firms are sponsoring this conference," added Ridenour. "These include General Mills, Walmart, Campbell Soup, Hormel Foods, Mars Inc. and many other famous names. We call on these companies to withhold support for this conference and all future conferences that censor science and disinvite journalists who uncover information inconvenient to left-wing agendas. The public deserves to know which corporations are supporting the nanny-state, anti-food freedom agenda, and we intend to make sure the public finds out."
Nina Teicholz, the journalist who was disinvited from the conference, will be holding a press conference of her own at the National Press Club in Washington at 3 pm on Tuesday, April 5. The National Center is not participating in nor involved with that press conference.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is aggressively fighting the attacks of big-government activists on food freedom. Recently it has supported Congressional efforts to roll back Obamacare regulations that make it a felony for prepared food providers to make a mistake in calorie counts; questioned the usefulness of government-mandated salt warnings; noted the connection between anti-meat and anti-global warming activism; and questioned the science behind calls to remove processed meats from school cafeterias, among other initiatives. The National Center also sponsors the Free Enterprise Project, which blows the whistle when major corporations engage in left-wing activism or surrender to the political demands of left-wing activists.
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here or follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter.