The Center for Consumer Freedom pointed out an amusing item involving Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health’s promotion of a “Meatless Monday” campaign which Johns Hopkins said was designed to help Americans reduce their fat consumption.
The Bloomberg School of Public Health distributed a press release in November 2002 claiming that 28 deans of public health schools around the country supported its Meatless Monday program. This claim of support from schools of public health was repeated in a Washington Post news story that opened with this lead,
That’s what a national consortium of 28 schools of public health want consumers to try as a step toward healthier eating habits, particularly reduction of saturated fat.
The claim that 28 schools of public health support the campaign is also repeated on the Meatless Mondays web site.
The only problem is that neither the media reports nor the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s own press release listed any of the deans or the schools of public health supposedly squarely behind this initiative.
Moreover when the Center for Consumer Freedom inquired to obtain a list of those involved in the campaign,
However, when the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) called the organizers of Meatless Monday, they would not provide a list of those schools. CCF was told: “The reason that we’re not releasing the schools of public health’s names is that some of the schools would come under pressure.” The individuals who could discuss what kind of pressure that might be, Meatless Monday’s representative said, were on vacation — the day after its most significant press coverage to date.
I have here, the names of 28 schools of public health known or suspected to have Meatless Monday connections . . .
Anyway, the fact that a list of the schools supposedly supporting this campaign is listed anywhere is downright bizarre. For example, in March 2003, Meatless Monday Campaign, Inc. did issue a press release titled “Public Health Schools Whet Appetite for Meatless Monday” that read,
In a strong show of unity, 28 deans from major U.S. public health schools have endorsed “Meatless Monday,” a national public health program to reduce meat and saturated fat consumption by Americans. The Meatless Monday Campaign, Inc., is a non-profit corporation working in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to launch this new national program.
But the only non-Hopkins school listed is the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. What sort of folks constantly trumpet the 28 schools that support them but then turn around and refuse to offer a list of said schools?
The Bloomberg School of Public Health should either name the 28 schools of public health backing the Meatless Monday campaign, or retract that claim.
Public Health Schools Whet Appetite for Meatless Monday. Press Release, MeatlessMonday.Com, March 2003.
FAQ. MeatlessMonday.Com, Undated.
Lean Plate Club: Planting a New Habit. Sally Squires, Washington Post, August 18, 2003.
Johns Hopkins’ Meatless Utopia. Press Release, Center for Consumer Freedom, August 20, 2003.