In the past two years, the food nuts at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) haven’t hesitated to drag several businesses to court over one word on food or drink packaging: "natural." These frivolous lawsuits stem from an all-too-common syndrome among Big Brother groups: An organization brags that it “knows when a product is not natural,” but doesn’t believe that American consumers are smart enough to make the same distinction themselves.
Now nutrition activists are lobbying for the Food and Drug Administration to “protect” consumers by regulating the definition of “natural.” Fortunately, the agency won’t be dealing with the issue anytime soon because, as a spokesman explained last week: “We’re not sure how high of an issue it is for consumers.”
That statement should be the standard response to all future demands (legal, political, litigious, etc.) by heavy-handed activists. Many radical groups maintain that their protests against every aspect of our lives—from salt shakers (“experts” liken it to crack cocaine) to our siblings (children leave a big “carbon footprint”)—are only done in our best interest. However, the chance of a few rabble-rousers accurately representing the concerns of more than 300 million Americans is dubious to say the least. When it comes to our best interests, CSPI and other food cops need to recognize that the most knowledgeable authority is, well … us.