WASHINGTON. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine responds to a news release published recently by the "Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF)," a group funded by the tobacco, meat, and junk-food industries.

As the Washington Post reported this spring, CCF was founded by tobacco lobbyist Rick Berman with money from Philip Morris and continues to receive funding from industries that market unhealthful products. Through CCF and other front groups, Berman has fought against stricter limits on legal blood- alcohol levels, improvements in minimum wage, health information for consumers, and other progressive efforts that his commercial clients view as contrary to their interests. The Post and USA Today both criticized the group in recent editorials.
As to CCF's false statements about PCRM, here's the truth. Founded 20 years ago, PCRM is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization working to promote good nutrition and higher standards in both human and animal research. PCRM has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator. PCRM both conducts clinical nutrition research and helps educate the public about preventive medicine, especially the multitude of health benefits possible with low-fat and vegetarian diets. PCRM also opposes unethical research. PCRM exposed experiments in which short, healthy children were to be injected with genetically engineered growth hormone in an attempt to make them taller. PCRM also exposed the practice of using massive estrogen doses to suppress height in tall adolescent girls. In addition, PCRM vigorously promotes alternatives to the use of animals in medical education and research through a variety of innovative programs.

PCRM's physicians, dietitians, and scientists are leaders in their field. They publish their work in peer-reviewed academic journals, present their findings before scientific conferences, and serve as consultants on government panels. PCRM's president Neal Barnard, M.D., http://www.NealBarnard.org , for example, is a respected nutrition researcher whose current work is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. PCRM experts are also popular with lay audiences. PCRM doctors and nutritionists are frequent guests in the national and international media, and popular writers in the lay press.

CCF tries to characterize health advocates, vegetarians, and animal protection groups as radicals or terrorists. However, PCRM's policies would specifically exclude anyone promoting violence or illegal activity from functioning as a spokesperson or having any role in the organization. This sort of name-calling represents Berman's tactic of ignoring facts and attacking critics of the unhealthful industries he represents.