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.