Michael F. Jacobson

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Michael F. Jacobson
Michael jacobson 5233180.jpg
Born (1943-07-29) July 29, 1943 (age 73)
Nationality American
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Occupation Nutritionist
Notable work Center for Science in the Public Interest

Michael F. Jacobson (born July 29, 1943), who holds a Ph.D. in microbiology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is an American scientist and nutrition advocate.

Jacobson co-founded the Center for Science in the Public Interest in 1971, along with two fellow scientists (James B. Sullivan, Albert J. Fritsch) he met while working at the Center for the Study of Responsive Law. When his colleagues left CSPI in 1977, Jacobson became its executive director.[1] Today, Jacobson also is the secretary on the board of directors of the organization.[2] He has been a national leader in the movement for healthier diets, focusing both on education and obtaining laws and regulations. It was Jacobson who coined the now widely used phrases "junk food"[3] and "food porn".

His views[edit]

Jacobson sits on the National Council of the Great American Meatout, an annual event sponsored by Farm Animal Rights Movement, that encourages people to "kick the meat habit" for a day. Jacobson and his organization have criticized a wide variety of foods and beverages as unhealthful. He and CSPI frequently use colorful terms to emphasize their opposition to certain foods, for instance referring to fettuccine alfredo as a "heart attack on a plate." [4]

He founded Food Day [5], a nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food and a grassroots campaign for better policies. Food Day was celebrated annually from 1975-77 and 2011-15. Jacobson also founded Big Business Day[6] and the Center for the Study of Commercialism [7].

"Soda is the quintessential junk food—just sugar calories and no nutrients," says Jacobson. "Americans are drowning in soda pop—teenagers, in particular. The average teenage boy is consuming two cans of soda pop a day." [8] Jacobson proposes several warning labels, including "Drinking (non-diet) soft drinks contributes to obesity and tooth decay," and "Consider switching to diet soda, water, or skim milk." He once asked a CBS News reporter: "Obesity is an epidemic. One-third of youths already are overweight or obese. Are we just going to sit around and do nothing? Or should we do something—a modest, sensible step of putting a health message on cans and bottles?"

In 2005, Jacobson's organization proposed mandatory warning labels on all containers of sugar-sweetened soft drinks, to warn consumers about the possible health risks of consuming these beverages on a regular basis.[9]

To bring about changes in eating habits, Jacobson advocates higher taxes on unhealthy foods, greater use of warning labels on food and beverage packaging, restrictions on advertising and selling junk foods (“snack foods"), and lawsuits against food producers and retailers whose practices he believes are detrimental to public health. He was instrumental in the passage of a Federal Law that mandated calorie labels on fast food chain menus and menu boards, which was passed in the Health Reform legislation signed into law by President Obama in March, 2010.[10] He led the effort to get "Added sugars" listed on Nutrition Facts labels. [11]

Criticism[edit]

Due in part to the zeal he brings to his efforts and in part to his de facto "zero-tolerance" policy, Jacobson's methods have been heavily criticized by the libertarian community, with the Center for Consumer Freedom awarding him "nanny of the year" on three occasions.[12] Some argue that parents have control over their children's diet and can moderate their intake of sugar-sweetened soft drinks. However, Jacobson contends that "kids know about vending machines, and they can go to 7-Eleven and get a big gulp which contains half a gallon (0.5 US gal (1,900 ml)) —a thousand calories, almost!—of soda pop in a single serving... We've come a long way from the six-and-a-half ounce (6.5 US fluid ounces (190 ml)) Coke bottles some 50 years ago." [13]

Works written by Jacobson[edit]

  • Marketing Booze to Blacks, Center for Science in the Public Interest (1987) ISBN-0-89329-015-7
  • Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming Americans' Health, Center for Science in the Public Interest (2007)[13]
  • Salt: The Forgotten Killer, Center for Science in the Public Interest (2005)[14]
  • The Changing American Diet, Center for Science in the Public Interest (Two editions: 1973, 1978)
  • Eater's Digest: The Consumer's Fact-Book of Food Additives, Doubleday & Company Inc. (1972) ASIN B000H7GB4K
  • Nutrition Scoreboard: your guide to better eating, Center for Science in the Public Interest (1973)
  • How Sodium Nitrite Can Affect Your Health, Center for Science in the Public Interest (1973)
  • Booze Merchants: The Inebriating of America. Bonnie Liebman, Jacobson. Center for Science in the Public Interest (1983), ISBN 0-89329-099-8
  • Salt: The Brand Name Guide to Sodium Content. Warner Books; Reissue edition (1985) ISBN 0-446-35513-5
  • ''Tainted Booze. Charles P. Mitchell, Jacobson. Center for Science in the Public Interest (1988) ISBN 0-89329-017-3
  • Marketing Disease to Hispanics: The Selling of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Junk Foods. Center for Science in the Public Interest (1989) ISBN 0-89329-020-3
  • Marketing Madness: A Survival Guide for a Consumer Society. Center for Science in the Public Interest (1989) ISBN 0-89329-020-3
  • The Fast-Food Guide. Center for Science in the Public Interest (1986, 1991) ISBN 99913-31-76-X
  • The Completely Revised and Updated Fast-Food Guide: What's Good, What's Bad, and How to Tell the Difference. Michael F. Jacobson (Author), Lisa Y. Lefferts (Author), Anne Witte Garland (Author). Workman Publishing Company; 2nd Revised & Updated edition (1992) ISBN 0-89480-823-0
  • Safe Food: Eating Wisely in a Risky World. Living Planet Press (1993) ISBN 0-425-13621-3
  • What Are We Feeding Our Kids? Bruce Maxwell, Jacobson. Workman Publishing Company (1994) ISBN 1-56305-101-X
  • Restaurant Confidential. Workman Publishing Company (2002) ISBN 0-7611-0035-0

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About CSPI". Center for Science in the Public Interest. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  2. ^ "CSPI Board of Directors". Center for Science in the Public Interest. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  3. ^ O'Neill, Brendon (November 30, 2006). "Is this what you call junk food?". BBC News. Retrieved June 29, 2010. 
  4. ^ Shin, Annys (February 28, 2011). "Dinner with Michael Jacobson, 'Chief of the Food Police'". Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  5. ^ "Food Day". Food Day. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  6. ^ "Big Business Day". The Nader Page. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  7. ^ "Center for Study of Commercialism". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  8. ^ Morales, Tatiana. "Warning Labels On Soda?". CBS. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  9. ^ "Letter to Secretary Michael Leavitt: Department of Health and Human Services" (PDF). 2005-07-13. Retrieved 2006-08-12. 
  10. ^ "Menu Labeling Timeline" (PDF). Center for Science in the Public Interest. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  11. ^ "CSPI petition to HHS, FDA re: Daily reference value for "added sugar"". Center for Science in the Public Interest. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  12. ^ Katherine Mangu-Ward (2008-08-15). "A five-egg omelet, a bowl of grits, three slices of French toast topped with powdered sugar and three chocolate-chip pancakes". Reason. Retrieved 2008-08-16. 
  13. ^ a b "Liquid Candy: How Soft Drinks are Harming Americans' Health" (PDF). Center for Science in the Public Interest. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 
  14. ^ "Salt: The Forgotten Killer" (PDF). Center for Science in the Public Interest. Retrieved 6 June 2017. 

External links[edit]