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Letter From The Editor: CSPI’s Chief

Some of us will admit we are insomniacs.  Others will deny it, saying it only appears that they responded to your last email at 3 a.m.

If you truly cannot sleep, silence is often the worst enemy.   When you’ve been doing brain-work all day, it is not easy to shut it off and head to dreamland.

For years, we’ve relied upon “white noise,” which might be defined as something you can listen to that actually helps put you to sleep.   The best, by far, at providing this service is the local affiliate of National Public Radio.

First, it’s about the last place on the dial where calm soothing voices prevail.  Second, NPR stations provide a very set program schedule.  In fact, at night, most just turn over their airtime to BBC World Service.

There is probably nothing better than when the BBC is making a news report by translating from Somali, Serbian, Swahili, or whatever into English for drifting off.

Not till you hear the familiar sounds of NPR’s Morning Edition, which comes on at something like 5 a.m. do you have to even think about actually listening again.

Sometimes, when NPR is unavailable, we insomniacs have to turn to a back-up source.   Lately, I’ve found C-Span overnight offerings are pretty good for sleeping.  Leaving the TV on also doubles as a nightlight if the surroundings are not familiar.

It is not as good as NPR, however, because sometimes given the power of television and its preference for call-in exchanges with guests, C-Span can have the troubling impact of waking you up.

That’s what happened Saturday morning when a caller was painting a truly bizarre conspiracy about how the government wants to kill us all.  It was not immediately apparent whom the guest was who was coming into for this verbal beating.  The caller was even going off about who picked the guest who was being interviewed.

Sleep was over.   Active listening began.

The man responding did not raise his voice a bit, but began answering the call with straight forward presentation, explaining what we need not worry about and what we need to worry about when it comes to food safety.

As they scrolled some identification for the man answering the question, we learned this sunrise interview was with Michael F. Jacobson, Executive Director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Jacobson did a great job educating this hostile caller and viewers at large about how trans fat and salt should worry us and should result in action by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (FDA).  He also hinted that New York City would be taking some action of its own on the sodium front soon.

His appearance is a reminder that we need to pay more attention to food safety leaders. Jacobson’s willingness to go on C-Span before 6 a.m. to talk about food safety and labeling is just another example of leadership that’s out there.

We think its great that Jacobson is waking people up on TV, but we still want to keep him off the overnight schedule on NPR.

© Food Safety News