Animal Rights Group’s Lawsuit a Leafy Fantasy

We’re still trying to decide how to describe the latest lawsuit from the misnamed Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), but the words “dumb,” “dumber,” and “frivolous” keep coming to mind. For the unaware (i.e., most Americans), PCRM filed a ridiculous lawsuit against the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday because the agency didn’t respond to an equally ridiculous 2007 PCRM petition. The group wants the FDA to consider requiring a vegan shout-out on diabetes medicine, essentially claiming that a PETA-approved diet can be as effective as drugs at reducing cholesterol and lowering blood sugar. (View a copy of the complaint here.)

PCRM General Counsel Dan Kinburn lays out the argument: “People are getting sick and sometimes dying because they are taking a medicine they may not even need.” In PCRM’s mind, everybody should just go vegan—a predictable philosophy from an activist group that gets 60 percent of its money from the vegan restaurateur who founded the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida.

But by that logic, shouldn’t the FDA be putting labels on bags of spinach saying that you can get your daily dose of iron by eating red meat instead? After all, there was an e. coli outbreak in spinach in 2006, killing three people and infecting hundreds more. In other words, people are getting sick and sometimes dying because they are eating a vegetable they may not even need.

Can we count on the veggie activists at PCRM to support such a spinach-labeling petition? It’s not like a vegan diet is immune from foodborne risks: Salmonella taints alfalfa sprouts and jalapenos, and the CDC recently determined that guacamole and salsa have become riskier over the years. But we won’t hold our breath.

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