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Washington Post Foodies Juiced about Food Police's New Target

     They wanted to sue over sodas in school, they even complained about 2 percent milk, and now they’re after fruit juices. But to the Washington Post, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is just another health-conscious consumer advocacy group.

     The June 28 Washington Post featured CSPI’s latest complaints about fruit drinks on the front page of its weekly Food section. Staff writer Candy Sagon began by reporting on the additional business juice vendors are enjoying as the nation’s three largest soft drink makers agreed to end soda sales to public schools.

     But Sagon quickly shifted to complaints by groups such as CSPI.

     Noting that just 12 states “regulate the sale of fruit drinks” in public schools, Sagon recorded the complaint of the center’s Margo Wootan. She wants only “bottled water and drinks that contain no less than 50 percent fruit juice” with no extra sugar sold in school while drinks like Hawaiian Punch and Hi-C are given the boot.

     Those drinks, Wootan complained to Sagon, are nothing more than “soda without the bubbles.”

     But Sagon left out the role Wootan’s organization played in the rise of juice drinks in public schools. The soda ban brokered by former President Bill Clinton in May was brought about in part because of planned litigation by CSPI, a group Sagon labeled merely as “a consumer advocate group.”

     For a consumer advocate group, CSPI sure does oppose consumers having much choice. Aside from its work to ban sodas and limit fruit drinks in public schools, CSPI opposes public school students having a choice in milk in the lunch line.

     In a news release two years ago, CSPI slammed “the dairy industry” for making “it harder for schools to serve only low-fat milk” which CSPI defines as either skim or 1% milk.

     “We’re all for variety, but schools should provide a variety of good choices, not a variety of bad ones,” Wootan preached in her April 26, 2004 statement.

    The Business & Media Institute has previously recorded the media’s uncritical reporting on the CSPI food police.