What's New -- CSPI Press Releases

Wednesday, March 6, 1996

Contact: Penelope Miller (202) 332-9110 x358

FDA Commissioner Kessler Presents Agency's Highest Honor to CSPI's Michael Jacobson

Consumer activist Michael Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), has been awarded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's highest public honor.

FDA Commissioner David Kessler presented the agency's Special Citation medal to Jacobson at a dinner in Washington, D.C. commemorating CSPI's 25th anniversary.

CSPI is a nonprofit consumer-advocacy organization specializing in food and nutrition issues. The group is best known for its recent studies of the healthfulness of restaurant foods, and for helping pass the law that requires nutrition labels on most packaged foods.

"The vision you have had over the last 25 years has been clear and compelling," Dr. Kessler said of CSPI during the presentation ceremony. "You have led us, you have led the government, you have led the industry, and you have led the public in understanding the connection between diet and health."

The FDA Commissioner's Special Citation medal is the highest award the agency bestows on citizens or organizations who promote public health. The bronze medallion bears the likeness of Dr. Harvey Wiley, considered the "father of the FDA." Wiley, a chemist and medical doctor, began his career in the 1870s exposing the adulteration of food products with cheaper ingredients. He was later named the federal government's chief chemist. Wiley was instrumental in securing passage of the landmark Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906, the first of several legislative acts that led to the creation of the modern FDA in 1931.

A certificate accompanying the Special Citation medal bears the following inscription: "Presented to Michael F. Jacobson for helping government, industry, and the public understand the relationship between diet and health and, in doing so, accomplishing one of the great public health advances of the century."

Responding to FDA's award, Jacobson said: "I am honored and thrilled to see that our quarter-century of work is being recognized in this way. We at CSPI are looking forward to 25 more years of perpetuating the legacy of Dr. Harvey Wiley."

Founded in 1971, CSPI accepts no government or corporate funds. It is supported almost entirely by the 900,000 subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter.