Health, News January 10, 2007

Conflicted FDA Obesity Chair Faces Jail Sentence

by admin

Jonathan Latham and Allison Wilson

Lester Crawford, ex-chairman of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) Obesity Working Group faces the likelihood of a jail sentence in the new year. His offence was making false statements to the US senate under conflict of interest rules for which he should have admitted that he and his wife owned significant shareholdings in Pepsico, Kimberley-Clarke, Sysco and Embrex, which are companies regulated by the FDA. He has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced in January.

The FDA working group that he chaired published the report Calories Count in 2004. The report was heavily criticised by consumer groups for its exceedingly modest proposals with regard to the responsibility of the food industry for the current US obesity epidemic. “Aside from printing up brochures and holding a press conference or two, the government does virtually nothing to educate Americans about [healthy eating] guidelines” said the US Centre for Science in the Public interest.

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