Press Release

Food Addiction Letter is Latest PR Stunt: Trial Lawyers Gather in Boston to Cash in on Obesity Scare

Washington, DC – A threatening letter sent to the nation’s top fast-food restaurants demanding public warnings about the alleged “addictive” nature of their menu items is just the latest in a series of amateur PR stunts by George Washington University law professor John Banzhaf. That same legal professor recently told a gathering of food policy experts that when it comes to obesity, personal responsibility is “crap” and that suing restaurants is his preferred solution.

“The timing of Banzhaf’s letter is not surprising. His first two obesity lawsuits against restaurants have gone nowhere in the courts, so he’s now trying his case in the media with ridiculous claims of food addiction from a British pop science magazine,” said Richard Berman, Executive Director of the Center for Consumer Freedom. “While New Scientist might be fascinating reading for consumers, it not a peer-reviewed scientific journal like JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) or the New England Journal of Medicine. If Banzhaf really wants to wow people with his addiction theory, maybe he should convince a more respected journal to buy into the idea and publish it.”

The most recent issue of New Scientist featured stories titled “Porn for Fish,” and “Flying Cars Prepare for Takeoff.”

Banzhaf delivered his letter just days before he will join a cabal of the nation’s leading food cops, bureaucrats, and trial attorneys gathering in Boston for a pre-assault legal summit on obesity and restaurants. In their own words, the event explicitly “is intended to encourage and support litigation against the food industry.”

“This Boston gathering is deceptively titled ‘Legal Approaches to the Obesity Epidemic,’ but it should really be called ‘Cashing in on the Obesity Scare,’” Berman added. “Trial lawyers are manufacturing hysteria to make restaurants and food providers their next cash cow. These people are tired of chasing ambulances and they are now chasing pizza deliverymen.”

Founded in 1996, the Center for Consumer Freedom is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization devoted to promoting personal responsibility and protecting consumer choices. For more information, visit


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