Julia Seymour

To see the painful impact of media-driven health and food scares one need look no further than current headlines stemming from network news attacks on USDA-approved beef. At least 600 jobs are now in jeopardy as the company under attack was forced to suspend operations at three separate plants.

ABC News has led that charge, calling the beef by an activists’ pejorative term -- “pink slime” -- 52 times in just two weeks, despite the fact that the product is both safe and legal and has been for two decades. Unethical or irresponsible reporting like that can quickly sway public opinion against a product or company and depress sales, regardless of whether the perception is accurate.

That’s a common occurrence. In just days it will become clear whether the Food and Drug Administration has been cowed by left-wing activists who have worked hard, hand-in-hand with the news media, to demonize bisphenol A. BPA, as it is more commonly known, is a chemical often used in plastics and that has been in the liners of cans for roughly 50 years in order to protect consumers from food poisoning and spoilage. It is also used in other types of food packaging and many consumer products.

It has succeeded in protected consumers, but anti-chemical green groups want it banned unless it can be proven safe. In other words they want it presumed guilty. The FDA has until March 31, to respond to the National Resources Defense Council’s petition that the government agency ban the chemical for use in food and beverage packaging.

Dr. John Rost of the North American Metal Packaging Alliance (NAMPA), told BMI “We do not believe that such an action is reasonable, given the fact that BPA has been recently reviewed by the European Food Safety Authority, the Japanese food safety branch, the Regulatory Authorities of Australia/New Zealand, and the World Health Organization and deemed safe in its current use, not to mention FDA’s own conclusion of safety back in 2010.”

Despite that, the pro-regulation liberals at NRDC (and dozens of left-wing anti-chemical groups) maintain that bisphenol A is a health threat because it “leaches” into food and is ingested. BPA does get ingested, primarily through contact with packaging, but major studies have failed to find this dangerous because the body rapidly metabolizes and excretes the chemical.

Julia Seymour

Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Editor for the Media Research Center’s Business and Media Institute.