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This scientist perfectly destroyed a quack food guru’s rebuttal to critical science students

Vani Hari, better know for her online name “Food Babe,” is famous for her health-minded food crusades. But as her popularity grows, so do critics of her approach who deem her to be unscientific and riddled with fear-mongering.

Vani Hari, better know for her online name “Food Babe,” is famous for her health-minded food crusades. But as her popularity grows, so do critics of her approach who deem her to be unscientific and riddled with fear-mongering.

This criticism has led to people labeling her the “Jenny McCarthy of food.”

“What she does is exploit the scientific ignorance and fear of her followers,” says Kavin Senapathy, an anti-pseudoscience blogger who frequently challenges the assertions in Hari’s articles. “And most of us are in agreement that we simply can’t accept that.”

Last week, a group of food science students from the IFT Student Association (IFTSA) wrote a letter to Hari, challenging what they allege to be her unscientific views on food, farming, health and GMOs.

Hari’s response was dismissive to say the least. She slammed the students’ assertions that she lacked evidence for her claims.

“First, synthetic ingredients in our food should be proven safe before they are put into our bodies.

[…]

I do take issue with your assertion that there is no evidence that organic products are better for health. … Likewise I respectfully disagree with your statement that GMO crops are ‘proven to be substantially equivalent to native crops.’”

After reading Hari’s attempt at a rebuttal, University of Florida food and agricultural scientist Kevin Folta was livid. In a blog post entitled, Vani Hari’s Kooky Response to Critical Students, he took apart her response point by point.

Look:

response to Food Babe (Click the image to enlarge.)

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Avatar

    plunkshop

    February 5, 2015 at 11:34 pm

    DS the rebuttal is total BS.

  2. Avatar

    JoeF

    February 6, 2015 at 4:28 am

    Care to explain why? What are your qualifications for your statement?
    Provide real evidence, real science for your claim.

  3. Avatar

    Jayme Crandall

    February 6, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Actually, the rebuttal is the fake thing. everything she claimed is true, ive seen the actual studies shes talking about.

  4. Avatar

    Jayme Crandall

    February 6, 2015 at 9:52 am

    the rebuttal from the “scientist” i mean, not the smart food girl. The smart food girl is correct on most of her claims.

  5. Avatar

    SleepsWithCats

    February 6, 2015 at 11:12 am

    I expected to see a rational rebuttal; instead I saw only smug sneering.

    “How do you prove something is safe? Has anything from orgnic production been “proven safe”? You prove something is safe the same way you prove something is harmful: by testing. Ms. Hari isn’t looking for “absolute proof” of harm, and there is no reason to suppose she is demanding “absolute proof” of safety.

    “Where is this evidence?” Ms. Hari will show you what she considers evidence. Your sneering doesn’t absolve you of the requirement to consider it.

    “That’s a rather bold statement, seeing as food additives need FDA approval, and that requires testing.” Does it require independent testing by a 3’rd party or the FDA, as Ms. Hari suggests, or is the testing done by the applicant for approval?

    “So where does conventional ag provide these?” If you are referring to neurotoxic chemicals, try insecticides. Endocrine disruption: hormones. Etc. Again you sneer without offering a cogent rebuttal. You don’t even include a single reference.

    “Which would be true if there was (sic) not extensive safety testing done.” Ms. Hari is complaining about the extent of the testing. If a substance is harmful, the amount of testing required is dependent on the level of harm you wish to detect. Not everyone is so trusting. Remember thalidomide?

    “There are no animal genes in commercial crops” unless we talk about animal crops.

    “Actually decreased pesticide use, Vani.” Uh, I believe Ms. Hari is referring to insecticides produced by the crop itself.

    “The non-scientific public can choose Non-GMO project (product?) or organic.” Uh, not if they aren’t told which projects (products?) are GMO. This is the labeling issue.

    “Not everyone can afford to, or wants to, live by your privileged thresholds.” Nice of you to decide for them. Ms. Hari believes that everyone can afford to, and she is attempting to convince people that higher thresholds of safety in our food supply are a reasonable goal. You seem to have a higher threshold for risk.

  6. Avatar

    Roxanne Porozinski

    February 6, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Genetical modification or transgenics is the same as what farmers have been doing since growing food through hybridization. The difference is that with modern science, the genes responsible for specific traits can be with surgical precision instead of through guessing. It is not adding synthetic matter to food. It is a process, not an additive.

  7. Avatar

    Roxanne Porozinski

    February 6, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Genetical modification or transgenics is the same as what farmers have been doing since growing food through hybridization. The difference is that with modern science, the genes responsible for specific traits can arranged with surgical precision instead of through guessing and using generations of crops to get the desired result. It is not adding synthetic matter to food. It is a process, not an additive.

  8. Avatar

    Roxanne Porozinski

    February 6, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    Genetic modification or transgenics is the same as what farmers have been doing since growing food through hybridization. The difference is that with modern science, the genes responsible for specific traits can be arranged with surgical precision instead of through guessing and using generations of crops to get the desired result. It is not adding synthetic matter to food. It is a process, not an additive.

  9. Avatar

    clobear

    February 7, 2015 at 2:53 am

    Exactly

  10. Avatar

    Will

    February 7, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    Above are two target audience members of the Quack. By her snake oil if you want. A fool and their money are soon parted.

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