Fifty years ago, Nixon was in the White House, more than 300,000 American troops were in Vietnam, the 26th Amendment gave 18-year-olds the right to vote, Americans landed on the moon and returned to Earth for the third time, and the Rolling Stones released the landmark album Sticky Fingers.

In short, there was a lot going on in 1971. That was also the year three young scientists—a microbiologist, an oceanographer, and a chemist—operating out of low-budget, borrowed space in Washington, DC, inked the founding documents of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

The microbiologist, Michael Jacobson, went on to lead CSPI until 2017.

Fast forward 50 years, and CSPI has firmly established itself as America’s food and health watchdog.

Among much else, we successfully led the fight for:

  • Nutrition Facts on food labels.
  • Calorie counts on chain-restaurant menus.
  • A ban on artificial trans fat.
  • Getting soda and junk food out of schools...and more fresh fruits and vegetables in.
  • Landmark legislation to curb pathogens like Salmonella in food.
  • Health warnings on alcoholic beverages.

As a member of CSPI, you share in these and other historic victories.

During the pandemic, we have made the case for science-based approaches to tests, treatments, and vaccines for Covid-19, and we blew the whistle on hydroxychloroquine, colloidal silver, and other fake coronavirus cures.

We have also worked hard to ensure that the nation’s pandemic response helps struggling families buy enough food, and that it protects the workers who put food on our plates as well as the consumers who eat that food.

But while CSPI values and honors its past, we don’t shrink from the challenges ahead. We envision a population free of preventable disease and an equitable, sustainable food system that makes healthy food accessible to all.

And thanks to a generous grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, we are expanding our reach with new campaigns to revamp the food environment. Our goal: healthier foods on restaurant menus, at supermarkets, and in school cafeterias.

I thank you for sharing CSPI’s commitment to independence, scientific rigor, and transparency. And I ask for your continued support as we work together to ensure that our next 50 years will be even better than our first 50.

We couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities ahead.

Wild horses couldn’t drag us away.

Peter G. Lurie, MD, MPH

President, Center for Science in the Public Interest