Delicious Pseudoscience from The Food Babe: The Power of Quackmail

Vani Hari is an American food blogger known for her criticism of the food industry. Her nom de blog is ‘The Food Babe’, and her scientific knowledge stems largely from Google University. She’s young, attractive, and becoming very, very, powerful.

The Food Babe targets large companies – breweries like MillerCoors, food providers such as Subway and Lean Cuisine, and recently (to the horror of many), Starbuck’s and their Pumpkin Spice Lattes. The list by no means stops there.

Her strategy is simple – name scary chemicals, throw in the word ‘genetically-modified’, add a bit of anecdotal evidence and pseudoscience, and rely on the scientific illiteracy of the public to garner support for the crusade. She’s anti-chemical, anti-GMO, and anti-vaccine.

But here’s the kicker. Companies are largely bowing to her demands. Hari holds so much sway over the general public that the cost of changing a recipe is probably lower than the loss generated by her targeted bullying and negative press. Even if there is no evidence whatsoever that the ingredient in question is harmful.

Forbes blogger Trevor Butterworth calls this particular brand of blackmail ‘quackmail’.

But company profits are not our concern. Fear mongering is. How can the general public know that Vani Hari is spouting nefarious pseudoscience if these companies are folding like two-dollar lawn chairs?

Vaccines do not cause autism in children. Detox diets are pointless. Global warming is confirmed by science. Chemicals and GMOs are not the enemy. No matter how often these words are spoken, there are always people who vehemently believe the contrary.

On one hand, that’s great. It represents our right to free thought.

However, misinformation about health issues can cause a lot of damage – just take a look at the rising incidence of preventable diseases (such as measles, mumps, and whooping cough) due to anti-vaxxers in well-to-do areas of California.

The Food Babe’s notorious pseudoscience is of great concern. It’s of great concern for scientific understanding in the community, for trustworthy scientific communication, and for our health and wellbeing. It’s of great concern for those that love the truth. 19ctggrnhxpvvjpg

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Lauren Wright

Globetrotting Aussie postdoc on the hunt for science, logic, and humanity. I research metabolism, mitochondria, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other weighty stuff.

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3 Responses

  1. Avatar Ken says:

    !00% agree. Food Babe is a VERY present and persistent danger to anyone falling for her complete deceit and ignorance. She is also disingenuous and hypocritical, criticizing companies for the very things she promotes in her blog, including her ‘healthy” recipes. Thanks for calling her out as she definitely deserves all of it and more.

  2. Avatar Rational says:

    i love that image with the ingredients.

  3. Really good article; it’s a massive problem how distrustful people can be of people science, especially things such as GMO foods and vaccines, which are pretty ace.

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