USDA urged to reverse Bush-era gag rule preventing criticism of soda
Bush administration blocked states from using federal funds to discourage soda consumption
“Soft drinks are the only food or beverage directly linked to obesity,” said CSPI Legal Affairs Director Bruce Silverglade. “Yet under the Bush Administration, USDA gagged state health officials and blocked important nutrition education efforts. We hope the Obama Administration will quickly reverse course and instead actively support state campaigns aimed at reducing soda consumption and obesity”
According to CSPI, the policy has its roots in a 2003 USDA memorandum prohibiting the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program funds for disparaging or criticizing any food, issued after the state of
In 2008, USDA told
According to CSPI, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published jointly by USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services, advises people to “choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners.” USDA’s Food Guide recommends that people who consume a reasonable amount of fat and calories should consume no more than 8 teaspoons of added sugars a day-which is less than the amount of sugar found in a typical 12–oz. can of soda.“This is just a matter of permitting states to run nutrition education programs that are consistent with the federal government’s own dietary advice, so this should really be a no-brainer,” stated Ilene Ringel Heller, CSPI senior attorney.