Food Babe Strikes Again

Chemophobia: A blogger’s growing voice has food makers acting, even if her science is shaky

Alex Tullo

 Vani Hari, author of the Food Babe blog. Credit: Vani Hari

Vani Hari, author of the Food Babe blog.
Credit: Vani Hari

Vani Hari, also known as the Food Babe, isn’t a food scientist or a chemist. But her 4 million-strong blog following gives her a formidable constituency.

The food industry is paying attention. This year, the Subway sandwich chain pulled azodicarbonamide after one of Hari’s campaigns. A dough conditioner, azodicarbonamide is deemed safe by the Food & Drug Administration. But it is also a polyurethane blowing agent, and Hari claims guilt by association.

“Water is also a foaming agent in polyurethane, so maybe we should ban water from bread, too,” reader John Spevacek commented on a C&EN story.

Undeterred by feverish criticism from scientists, Hari continues to challenge food and beverage makers to be more transparent about the ingredients they use. For instance, she wants ingredient labels on beer bottles. Hari has a book, “The Food Babe Way,” that will be out next year.


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