[UPDATE 9/17/2014: I can’t believe we’re still discussing this, but Food Babe contacted me again, stating the following:
I never said she was paid by Subway. However, as promised in my last update, I am more than willing to fix it for her. To clarify, the point of my article was not about who was or was not paying Food Babe. Perhaps there was confusion with the “bacon” comment, which I associate with “goods,” but my point really had nothing to do with money. Rather, the article is about how she effectuates “change” by starting a negative public relations campaign against the company until they cave into her demands (“consulting”). My argument is simply that it was foolish for companies to agree to her demands when, just as with Subway, she will turn around and threaten a new negative public relations campaign over and over again. Each time they cave, she walks away looking like the winner/hero/savior. Sorry Vani if I made it sound otherwise. Thanks for letting me know you did not consult with Subway for a fee. However, you did launch a negative public relations campaign against them….twice.]
[UPDATE 9/1/2014: This article is the much talked about article regarding Food Babe. I posted a follow-up here that Food Babe contacted me about this post of being inaccurate and asked me to take it down. I did at first so I could decide how to proceed. After receiving overwhelming support from a variety of sources, I have decided to re-publish this post in its original form. The only difference is a new link which confirms that Vani Hari has, at least once before, been paid for her “consulting” work. You can find the article from the Charlotte Observer here, or within the article. As for the bullying techniques, she also is currently doing the same thing to Starbucks. If she still thinks there is something here that is inaccurate, and demonstrates that to me, I am more than willing to change it and issue an apology. Until then, I’m sure my readers will enjoy.]
…And she’ll take a whole lot more than a mile!
I previously told you about Food Babe here. She’s the computer science major that now blogs and uses talk shows to warn folks about certain brands of food. And while Food Babe’s “army” consists of over half a million people, it turns out that feeding the beast is not all sunshine and lollipops.
It appears this is how Food Babe brings home the bacon (so to speak). Food Babe finds a problem with a company’s product. The company agrees to “consult” with her about the product. Following the “consult,” the company changes their product and Food Babe walks out with a blog post to tell her fans to go ahead and resume consuming. (Vani has admitted that she was paid by Chik-fil-a for her “consulting” work, although she failed to disclose that on her blog posts about the topic. As stated in the update, I do not know if, nor do I claim that, she got paid from any other companies.)
Some call this blackmail or extortion.
Subway fell for the trick the first time Food Babe started calling late last year. She was cranky because Subway was using a chemical called “azodicarbonamide” during the bread-making process. Food Babe called Subway out for it and claimed they were attempting to hide use of the ingredient and pointed out that azodicarbonamide is also used in making yoga mats.
In truth, the chemical is perfectly safe and making bread is a perfectly legitimate use for it. According to Science 2.0:
Azodicarbonamide is a simple cheap chemical, which was first made in 1927. It is used for many things because of exactly one property—when heated it decomposes to a number of gasses, which turn into bubbles and get trapped in the matrix of whatever is being manufactured, giving it a foamy consistency. This is why it is used in bread, yoga mats and hundreds of other things. It is considered to be absolutely safe at low doses.
But science and truth are irrelevant to Food Babe and her “army.” So, Subway caved to Food Babe and agreed to remove the chemical from its bread. Thereby, making Food Babe an advocate and promoter of Subway.
Food Babe has other problems with the chain restaurant. They still sell products made from GMOs and “processed chemicals.” According to Food Babe, that’s a big issue and the reason her followers should continue to avoid eating there.
It seems to me that Subway really got the raw end of the deal here. They gave into Food Babe and she still has problems with the food they serve! Totally not fair.
Here’s the thing: when a company caves to a critic who makes her living inventing food nightmares out of thin air, she isn’t going to be satisfied. Now, she wants more. Changing your recipe was validating her complaint and she’s not about to stop. Sorry Subway, but you haven’t been given the keys to the castle yet. You agreed to change your product based on the absurd fancy of Food Babe and she turned around and slammed the door in your face. Food Babe wants more.
Let this be a lesson to other companies that Food Babe decides to arbitrarily target. Give her an inch, or your prized ingredient, and she’ll keep asking for more.