The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is supposed to police grocery store shelves for unsafe food additives and misleading labeling. However, the FDA is understaffed, underfunded, often disinterested, and almost never takes action—even when watchdog groups like the Center for Science in the Public Interest file formal complaints. The Federal Trade Commission's performance this decade on deceptive advertising has been similarly lackluster.
CSPI's litigation department helps fill the void left by the inactive government agencies and uses state and federal courts to help correct corporate misbehavior. CSPI's legal filings have produced binding settlements resulting in more honest labeling of artificial ingredients and halting deceptive marketing. Litigation, or the threat of litigation, has spurred several companies to remove artificial trans fats from their foods and is reducing the marketing of junk foods to kids.