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The Center For Consumer Freedom (also known as the CCF) is a front group of billionaires who represent the restaurant, alcohol, meat and tobacco industries. It runs media campaigns which oppose the efforts of scientists, doctors, health advocates, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, etc.

Anyone who criticizes tobacco, alcohol, fatty foods or soda is likely to come under attack from the CCF. It's enemies list has included such diverse groups and individuals as the Alliance of American Insurers, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, the American Medical Association, the Arthritis Foundation, the Consumer Federation of America, the Harvard School of Public Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Safety Council.

CCF is one of the more active of several front groups created by Berman & Co., a firm owned by lobbyist Richard Berman. Richard Berman originally got his front group started by a $600,000 “donation” from tobacco company Philip Morris.

Berman’s name might sound familiar. In 1995, Berman and Norm Brinker, his former boss at Steak and Ale Restaurants, were identified as the special-interest lobbyists who donated the $25,000 that disgraced then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was hauled before the House Ethics Committee for influence-peddling over the money. Berman and Brinker were lobbying against raising the minimum wage.

In a 1999 interview with the Chain Leader, a trade publication for restaurant chains, Berman boasted that he attacks activists more aggressively than other lobbyists. "We always have a knife in our teeth," he said. Since activists "drive consumer behavior on meat, alcohol, fat, sugar, tobacco and caffeine," his strategy is "to shoot the messenger. ... We've got to attack their credibility as spokespersons."

An article in the December 15,1999 copy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer describes Berman's support for Uniroyal, the company that produces Alar(tm), a pesticide used on apples. Through his Guest Choice Network (currently the Center for Consumer Freedom) Berman published a newsletter that minimized the risks of Alar to children. The newsletter stated, "According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one would have to eat 50,000 pounds of apples a day over a lifetime to contract cancer from Alar." In response, EPA spokeswoman Denise Kearns said, "To my knowledge, EPA never issued that kind of statement." In the end Berman admitted that the source of his information was a statement made by Uniroyal. Alar has since been banned due to cancer risks.

The Center For Consumer Freedom also called the film Charlotte's Web "violent animal rights propaganda". Furthermore, on their website, they state that the live version adaptation of Charlotte's Web is "inappropriate for a G-rated movie".
Don't be surprised if someone calls you a guinea pig to the billion dollar corporations for supporting the CCF.

The Center For Consumer Freedom should be called The Center For CORPORATE Freedom to do what it wants to the public.

While you're supporting the CCF, eating their food with pesticides and slowly getting cancer, they'll be driving in their Jaguar you paid for.
by April J. February 17, 2007
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