Possible dialogue? Food Babe rebuffs criticism in science students “open letter”

Vani Hari
Popular anti-GMO activist Vani Hari, the "food babe."

On January 22nd, 2015, a group of science students from the IFT Student Association wrote me a letter. Here is my response:

Dear Future Science Students In Training,

Thank you so much for your letter, which I greatly appreciated receiving.

Here are a few guidelines for my work that I hope you will consider.

First, synthetic ingredients in our food should be proven safe before they are put into our bodies. The current system in the United States, unlike Europe, considers most chemicals innocent until proven guilty. Absolute proof of harm is not a moral standard for protecting public health – that is for the realm of theoretical science only. When there is significant evidence, short of certainty, we should protect the public from unnecessary risk. As you know most of the chemicals in our food supply have never been independently tested for safety by a 3rd party or the FDA. Can we join forces to insist they should be?

Meanwhile, I do take issue with your assertion that there is no evidence that organic products are better for health. Avoiding neurotoxic, endocrine disrupting, carcinogenic and teratogenic (birth defect) chemicals is of course more protective of people’s health, not to mention the health of other species including the microorganisms both human and soil health depend on. And studies have shown higher vitamin and mineral levels in organic produce, due most likely to healthier soil with more beneficial bacteria and fungi.

Likewise I respectfully disagree with your statement that GMO crops are “proven to be substantially equivalent to native crops.” What GMO crops are proven to do is produce novel proteins that have never before existed, with which we did not evolve, and which are not required to be tested for safety before being put into the food supply. And how could the crossing of plant and animal genes into new species be “equivalent to native crops” or the same as plant breeding techniques? This is a biotech industry PR line, truly. An even bigger problem with GMO crops is they are being used primarily to increase the pesticide and herbicide load in the environment. And these chemicals are leaching into food. There is significant evidence that one of them, Round-Up, is an endocrine mimicking chemical. In the theoretical scientific world one can wait for proof of causation – that is not a moral standard when it comes to protecting the public. At the very least, the public has a right to know when foods are engineered, which the food companies oppose.

Related article:  Big ag boom - organic food soon to double in revenue

In Europe they use the precautionary principle – if there is significant evidence of harm, absolute proof is not required to act. Sadly in our country, the burden is on the public to prove safety instead of the food companies. My readers and I are out to change that, and I hope you will join with us to make a healthier and truly sustainable food system to truly feed the world.

Yours sincerely,

Vani Hari

Original postResponse To “An Open Letter To Food Babe” From Science Meets Food

Outbreak
Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...
favicon

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend