President @ Center for Science in the Public Interest
Mr. Michael F. Jacobson, Ph.D., is co-founder and president of the trailblazing Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nonprofit health advocacy organization supported largely by the 700,000 subscribers to its Nutrition Action Health letter. CSPI is a key player in battles against obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems, using tactics ranging from education to legislation to litigation. Jacobson has written numerous books and reports, including Nutrition Scoreboard, Six Arguments for a Greener Diet, “Salt: the Forgotten Killer,” and “Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming Americans’ Health.”
A snapshot of his accomplishments include:
1973 CSPI launches campaign to bar the use of sodium nitrite in bacon and other cured meats, which ultimately results in significantly lower levels of nitrites in many foods.
1974 Nutrition Action Healthletter makes its debut.
1978 CSPI petitions FDA to require sodium labeling of all foods and fat-content labeling of processed meats. CSPI’s efforts to obtain sodium labeling culminate in a new FDA rule.
1987 FDA bans sulfite preservatives (a lethal allergen) in most fresh foods, following CSPI’s five-year effort.
1988 CSPI wins passage of a federal law requiring a health warning label on all alcoholic beverage containers.
1990 CSPI’s decade-long campaign wins a federal law requiring nutrition labeling of packaged foods and a ban on deceptive health claims. CSPI leads the effort to win passage of a federal law defining “organic” food.
1994 CSPI calls on the FDA to require the labeling of cholesterol-raising trans fats in foods and leads the effort to require lower-fat school meals.
1995 CSPI persuades the federal government to propose new regulations to force the food industry to do better at keeping disease-causing bacteria out of foods.
1997 CSPI’s Nutrition Action Healthletter becomes the largest-circulation health newsletter in North America, bringing life-saving information to more than two million Americans and Canadians.
1999 CSPI’s campaign to warn Americans about the dangers of the fake fat olestra contributes to Procter & Gambles’ decision not to seek approval to use olestra in foods other than snacks.
2001 After a four-year effort by CSPI, USDA proposes mandatory nutrition labeling for ground meat and poultry
2003 After a ten-year CSPI-led drive, the FDA finalizes a rule requiring food manufacturers to list artery-clogging trans fats on Nutrition Facts labels. CSPI prods the FDA to test a wide range of brand-name foods for cancer-causing acrylamide.
2004 Prompted by publicity and pressure from CSPI, Congress passes a law requiring disclosure on food labels of the presence of allergens like peanuts, wheat, milk, soy, and egg to protect the six million Americans with food allergies. FDA proposes new regulations to keep Salmonella out of eggs.
2005 CSPI’s new litigation unit compels food manufacturers to stop a number of deceptive ads and labels. CSPI reactivates its 25-year battle to reduce sodium content of packaged and restaurant foods. CSPI’s efforts help spur new policies in many cities and states to reduce or remove soda and junk foods from public schools.
2006 CSPI’s threat to sue soft-drink companies spurs them to remove high-calorie soft drinks from schools. Likewise, court action (or the threat of it) by CSPI stops misleading ads and labels by Tropicana, Quaker, Frito-Lay, and other major food companies.
2008 CSPI’s threatened lawsuit prompts Kellogg Company to adopt nutrition standards for marketing foods to children. Shortly thereafter, 11 major companies pledge to set similar standards through the voluntary “Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative
2009 With CSPI’s input, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the most sweeping reform of the food-safety system in 70 years.
2010 After a 10-year campaign by CSPI, Congress enacts mandatory calorie labeling on menus and menu boards at chain restaurants.
2011 CSPI is instrumental in enactment of the historic Food Safety Modernization Act, giving the FDA the power and tools to prevent food contamination instead of having to track it down after an outbreak sickens and kills people.
2012 CSPI hosts the first National Soda Summit to unite the movement to end soda-related diseases.