“Real food” advocate Limbaugh falsely claims “leftist kooks ... want to ban Chinese food”

Rush Limbaugh attacked the Center for Science in the Public Interest as a “wacko bunch of leftist kooks” who “want to ban Chinese food.” In fact, CSPI, which advocates for nutrition, health, and food safety, has lauded Chinese restaurants and labeled most Chinese dishes “healthy.”

Limbaugh: CSPI “want[s] to ban Chinese food”

Limbaugh attacks CSPI as a “miserable,” “unhappy” group that will have you eating “cardboard” and “miniature rocks.” On his July 9 radio show, Limbaugh discussed CSPI and its intent to file suit against McDonald's for its “unfair and deceptive” promotion of toys to children through its Happy Meals. Limbaugh stated of the Washington-based group: “They wanted to ban Chinese food. These people want to get in your life and tell you what to eat,” and attacked them as “kooks, statists, [and] nannies.”

From the July 9 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' The Rush Limbaugh Show:

LIMBAUGH: You know, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, this wacko bunch of leftist kooks, statists, nannies -- these are the people who banned coconut oil from your popcorn in movie theaters, have gotten rid of MSG, the flavoring in Chinese food. They wanted to ban Chinese food. These people want to get in your life and tell you what to eat. If you look at these people, you'd say, well, they're barely alive. They're skeletal; they're miserable; they are unhappy; and they want to spread that misery to everybody else by having you eat basically nothing but tofu and cardboard, run around and eat miniature rocks and berries as you traverse the deserts of the world.

And their latest target was McDonald's Happy Meal. They wanted to sue McDonald's to remove the toys from the Happy Meal package because the toys were incentive to kids to go out -- and their parents -- to go out and buy Happy Meals, which the Center for Science in the Public Interest determined was unhealthy and unwise and in fact it's none of their business.


LIMBAUGH: You know, this group ought not get any attention. They've got a logo and a fax machine. Because they're a bunch of liberals, the media gives them instant credibility. They're just a bunch of kooks! They're no different than your crazy aunt in the basement who gives herself a logo and a fax machine and sends it out to the media and says she's against whatever. That's essentially who they are.

CSPI has labeled most Chinese food “healthy”

CSPI report on Chinese food: “Too much sodium in otherwise healthful food.” In a March 2007 analysis, "Wok Carefully," on popular Chinese restaurant meals, CSPI stated that “Chinese food is often rich in vegetables and the fat comes mostly from heart-safe, trans-fat-free vegetable oils” and that “Chinese food hasn't gotten worse since CSPI first looked” in 1993. The study lauded Chinese restaurants for “keeping a lid on saturated and trans fat, thanks to vegetable oil, no cheese, and a host of seafood, poultry, and (hooray!) vegetable dishes.” However, the study said, “Chinese restaurant food is loaded with salt and ... delivers a load of calories, thanks to its oil, noodles, and deep-fried batter or breading.”

CSPI executive director: “Many Chinese entrées are loaded with healthy” ingredients. In the summary announcing the Chinese food analysis, CSPI executive director Michael Jacobson stated: “Many Chinese entrées are loaded with healthy vegetables and lean shrimp or chicken. However, when it comes to sodium, there's no real safe harbor on the Chinese restaurant menu.”

CSPI urged FDA to ban grain imports from China in wake of pet food recall. In April 2007, CSPI urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban imports of wheat gluten, rice protein, and other grain products from China in light of a pet food recall at the time due to contamination with the industrial chemical melamine. In its letter calling for the ban, CSPI wrote: “The danger to U.S. consumers from contaminated products is not limited to pets. The wheat gluten and rice flour implicated in the pet food recall are components of the human food supply as well, and contamination of human food on the scale of the pet food outbreak would be disastrous. The state of California has already quarantined a hog farm where hog urine has tested positive for melamine -- a result of the ingestion of tainted pet food used for pig feed.”

CSPI mission is to “promote healthy diets, prevent deceptive marketing practices, and ensure that science is used to promote the public welfare.” Contrary to Limbaugh's claim that the center “want[s] to get in your life and tell you what to eat,” the group says on its website that it seeks “to educate the public, advocate government policies that are consistent with scientific evidence on health and environmental issues, and counter industry's powerful influence on public opinion and public policies.” The website also states that “CSPI will keep fighting for government policies and corporate practices that promote healthy diets, prevent deceptive marketing practices, and ensure that science is used to promote the public welfare.”

Touting “real food,” Limbaugh has railed against government, food safety advocates

Limbaugh touts McDonald's hamburgers and slams the “wackos.” On his July 9 radio show, Limbaugh said: “I remember back in the days of the global warming craze when the wackos were suggesting don't eat McDonald's, don't eat beef because it leads to cow methane, causing global warming.” Limbaugh continued: “Remember, I sent one of the Snerdleys over to McDonald's in Times Square and picked up 240 Quarter Pounders with Cheese and Big Macs and brought them back to the studio and had the whole transaction take place on the phone on the air -- just to stand up and support McDonald's.”

Limbaugh to children: Can't find food? “There's always the neighborhood dumpster” or “a Happy Meal.” On his June 16 show, referencing a report that children “face a summer of hunger” because "[w]hile classes were in session, they relied on free or discount cafeteria meals ... [b]ut they will not be reached by the patchwork summer food programs financed by" the federal government, Limbaugh stated that “a summer off from government eating might be just the ticket” to curbing childhood obesity. He later characterized children “starving to death out there because there's no school meal being provided” as “one of the benefits of school being out.” He also challenged Summer Food Service programs by criticizing children for not knowing how to find food. Limbaugh first suggested that children should “try your house,” and “if that doesn't work, try a Happy Meal at McDonald's.” He concluded, “There's another place if none of these options work to find food; there's always the neighborhood dumpster.”

Limbaugh: “We can now thank the regime for seizing our salt shakers.” On the April 20 edition of his radio show, Limbaugh commented: “We can now thank the regime for seizing our salt shakers.” Limbaugh added that “they're going to take away our salt shakers, and we're supposed to thank the regime for seasoning our food.” .In fact, the FDA review Limbaugh was referring to had nothing to do with consumers' use of table salt and instead involved examining warnings about high sodium content in processed foods and restaurant meals, the sources of 77 percent of sodium intake.

Limbaugh: President Obama is “hen-pecked” by his wife, who won't let him eat “real food.” On his June 24 radio show, Limbaugh said that “half the reason” President Obama “leaves” the house “is to go get a burger because his wife is making him eat watercress and bamboo in there. He wants to get out and have some real food: some fries, some onion rings, some burgers. ... I mean, it's real food. Who knows what they're feeding the poor guy in the White House.” Limbaugh concluded: “Obviously he's hen-pecked.”

Limbaugh: Food safety advocates “going to go after Oreos.” On his July 27, 2009, radio show, Limbaugh attacked the Cancer Project for its anti-hot dog billboard advertisement, which followed research into processed meat that also spurred a lawsuit against food companies to add cancer-risk warning labels on hot dog packaging. Limbaugh called the group “a bunch of wacko health freaks, health Nazis” and claimed that “if you relish hot dogs, beware.” Limbaugh went on to call the suit “absurd” and “hilarious” and warned that this is “the starting point. ... [A]fter that, they're going to go for Oreos.”