Press Release

Consumer Group Calls Fowl on “Cancer Project” Chicken Lawsuit

WASHINGTON – The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) is warning consumers and the media that a lawsuit expected to be filed in Hartford, CT, today is an animal rights initiative in disguise. The deceptive “Cancer Project,” a radical animal rights organization with ties to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), will seek cancer-warning signs in three restaurant chains that serve well-done grilled and barbecued chicken. The lawsuit concerns tiny traces of “PhIP,” a chemical repeatedly shown in scientific studies to pose no cancer risk to humans.

The Cancer Project is a branch of the similarly misnamed “Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine” (PCRM), which admits that less than four percent of its members have graduated from medical school. PCRM’s role at the center of the animal rights movement has been exposed in Newsweek and The New York Times. The group derives more than two-thirds of its budget from Nanci Alexander, the wealthy founder of the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida. PETA has steered an additional $1.3 million to the organization.

“This so-called Cancer Project is just an animal-rights vehicle created to spread fear about perfectly safe food that’s not PETA-approved,” said David Martosko, CCF’s Director of Research.
In 2008 the California Attorney General’s office filed a formal objection to a similar case brought by PCRM, writing that warning labels on chicken “would not be in the public interest.” This is because even though traces of some chemicals may be created in the process of cooking chicken, that same process also kills harmful bacteria, having “the net effect of making the food safer to eat.”
During a March 2007 legal conference in San Francisco, Cancer Project General Counsel Dan Kinburn described his plan to sue “virtually every restaurant in the state of California that is not serving an all-vegetarian diet.”

Martosko continued, “This phony Cancer Project has become a real cancer, and it’s cynically using the courts to frighten people about their dinners for no good reason at all. The save-the-chickens agenda has no place in a serious national discussion about food and health.”

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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