Center for Science in the Public Interest

Digital shoppers face a barrage of pop-ups and promos for unhealthy food

Within a few years, the average U.S. household will spend $850 annually on food and beverage purchases over the internet, according to an estimate by Nielsen and the Food Marketing Institute. On Wednesday, a consumer group warned that digital grocers “are generally undermining Americans’ efforts to eat well” by flooding shoppers with pop-up ads and promotions for junk food.

Consumer group dings Cheesecake Factory twice for high-calorie dishes

Diners can get a day's worth of calories, roughly 2,000 for an adult, from the Pasta Napoletana entree at The Cheesecake Factory or the Cheeseburger Omelette sold by IHOP, says the Center for Science in the Public Interest in its annual Xtreme Eating Awards. The consumer watchdog group declared the 2,310-calorie Pasta Napoletana to be "worst adapted pasta" and the 1,990-calorie Cheeseburger Omelette as the "least original breakfast."

Consumer group chief: Law requires rejection of USDA nominee Clovis

In a hearing before the Senate Agriculture Committee, Michael Jacobson, president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said that while Sam Clovis has a broad resume and “there are likely senior jobs in the Administration that he would have been qualified to hold, the job of USDA chief scientist is not one of them.”

Put cancer warning on processed meat, consumer group asks USDA

Pointing to a WHO agency finding that processed meat is "carcinogenic to humans," the Center for Science in the Public Interest petitioned USDA to require a cancer warning label on packages of bacon, ham, hot dogs and other processed red meat and poultry. Michael Jacobson, leader of the consumer group, said chances are slim the incoming Trump administration will agree with the petition, "but at CSPI we're used to taking the long view."

The man who helped put Nutrition Facts on food changes roles

The director or co-director of the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest for 45 years, Michael Jacobson, 73, will change jobs next September to become CSPI's chief scientist. Jacobson was active in campaigns to put the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods, to eliminate trans fats from processed foods and to force the government to set guidelines on salt in food.

Foodmakers say ‘not so fast’ to FDA call for less salt in food

The FDA called on foodmakers and restaurateurs to reduce sharply the amount of salt in their products to help Americans avoid high blood pressure and the risk of chronic illness. The food industry balked, saying it already has low-salt products on sale and that the science on healthy salt levels was not as clear as the government says.

FDA starts countdown to May 2017 calorie-count menu mandate

Seven years after the provision became law, retail food establishments ranging from sit-down restaurants and cafeterias to delicatessens, fast-food outlets, coffee shops and bakeries will have to include calorie counts on their menus for the foods they sell. The deadline for compliance will …

The year of sugar taxes or soda sales?

India, the Philippines and Indonesia are studying soda taxes, reports Reuters, saying, "2016 may be the year of the sugar tax as several large nations consider levies on sweetened food and drinks to battle obesity and fatten government coffers."

Food industry asks FDA to allow low levels of trans fats

The Grocery Manufacturers Association petitioned the FDA to allow specific low-level uses of trans fats, formally known as partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), as a food additive.

New York proposes high-salt warnings for menus

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the city's Health Commission unveiled a plan that would require restaurant chains and movie theaters to label items as "high in sodium" if they contain more than 2,300 milligrams of salt, says the Fooducate blog of the New York Times.

White House begins update of food and ag biotech regulation

The administration launched an update of its multi-agency system of regulating food and agricultural biotechnology with a goal of writing the new version of its "coordinated framework" by July 2016.

Diet panel – Eat more fruit, veggies, dairy and less meat

The new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans should encourage people to eat more fruit, vegetables, dairy and whole grains and less sugar and refined grains, says a panel of experts advising the government. In its report, the panel says half of Americans have preventable, chronic diseases and two-thirds are overweight or obese. The persistent and high level of diet-related disease "raise the urgency for immediate attention and bold action," says the panel.

FDA Commissioner Hamburg says will leave agency in March

Margaret Hamburg, head of the FDA for six years, says she will step down as commissioner at the end of March. She announced the decision in a letter to employees, in which she praised the FDA's accomplishments...

Countdown to the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the government's tips on healthful diets, will be issued in the new year, says the Health and Human Services Department.

US approves GE potato that reduces suspect acrylamides

The Agriculture Department approved cultivation of the Innate potato developed by JR Simplot Co. and genetically engineered to produce smaller amounts of acrylamides when it is fried.

Rogue GE wheat puts USDA controls in doubt

Food and environmental groups are renewing calls for the Agriculture Department "to adopt a slower, more stringent approval process" for genetically engineered crops, says USA Today.

CSPI petitions to classify salmonella as meat adulterant

The consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest re-filed a petition that calls for USDA to classify four strains of antibiotic-resistant salmonella bacteria as a food adulterant.