By Elise Viebeck - 11/08/12 06:41 PM EST
A Washington, D.C.-based health group is making another appeal to President Obama to stop eating junk food in public now that election season is over.
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) made headlines in May when it filed a petition with the White House objecting to Obama's habit of grabbing hamburgers, hot dogs and other unhealthy foods with his staff and visiting dignitaries.
On Wednesday, PCRM Founder Neal Barnard called on Obama to abandon the foods he ate on the campaign trail — "cheesesteaks in Philly on Monday, barbecue in Dallas on Tuesday, cheese pizza in Madison, Wis., on Thursday" — now that he has secured reelection.
"Of course, President Obama had to pose for these photos for political reasons, but now it’s time for dispensation," Barnard wrote. "Politicians will always have to kiss babies and cut ribbons, but we can now officially take junk food out of the political picture."
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Food plays a major role in every presidential campaign as candidates break bread at local restaurants and fairs. Obama has also made a habit of casually stopping in at Washington, D.C., grills, treating staff to lunch at Good Stuff Eatery in 2011 and bringing then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Ray's Hell Burger in 2010.
After PCRM last criticized Obama, a group funded by the restaurant, food and beverage industries came to his defense.
"Let the president eat his hot dog," said the Center for Consumer Freedom, which blasted PCRM as a "phony doctors group" with a covert "vegan agenda."
PCRM has come under fire in the past for its provocative campaigns, including billboards that read, "Hot Dogs Cause Butt Cancer." The group advocates for preventive medicine, healthy eating and alternatives to animal testing.