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How The Food Industry Tries to Silence Us (My Appearance on CNN…)

I got a request to be on CNN last Sunday night asking me to discuss the romaine lettuce E. coli outbreak. But here’s the crazy thing…

My appearance on national TV really pissed off some people. And no – not because it was on CNN. (My stance on national media has always been to take the opportunity to spread the truth, no matter what outlet). 

So why would anyone be enraged that I went on TV to talk about lettuce?

Let me explain…

There are a band of food industry people who follow my every move and do whatever they can to bring our movement down. This includes people who work with Big Food and chemical corporations and public relations firms who represent these companies. They don’t want an activist like me to have an audience and to tell people the truth about our food supply. This threatens their profits… and when you are a threat, you become a target. It can be scary at times, but I do my best to not let it sway me.

So after my appearance on CNN last weekend, I found myself again being targeted with a tactic called “astroturfing”. This is something they have done to me in the past, often after I make a big public appearance or launch a successful campaign or petition.

Astroturfing is a fake grassroots movement, which is used to make it look like there is either widespread support or disapproval of a person, issue, or company – even if there is not.

When an astroturf campaign is launched, it will look like there are swarms of people on one side of the issue, when in all actuality, it is a small group of people working together backed by public relations firms or special interest groups. Astroturfing is designed to shape and distort media messages to fit a industry-friendly narrative and manipulate public opinion. 

For instance, when we petition a Big Food company and ask them to drop a harmful additive from their food, hundreds of social media profiles (some real, some fake) are activated and flood Facebook with messages in opposition to what we are asking the company to do. When we asked In-N-Out Burger to stop the routine use of antibiotics, several profiles came to In-N-Out’s Facebook Page and told them specifically not to change and not to listen us “fear mongers.” The same happened when we wrote about the risky additives in Boar’s Head deli meats and asked them to improve

Astroturfing also happens behind the scenes and off of the pages of social media. When I am invited to speak at events, a swarm of social media profiles spam the organization who invited me to speak. When I was on the cover of Experience Life magazine and when Yahoo Health featured me in some videos, they tracked down the editors of these publications and swamped them with complaints. It appeared on the surface that the complaints were coming from dozens of separate individuals, but it was actually a small group of people working together to make it appear that way.

If you’ve been following me for awhile, I’m sure you’ve seen astroturfing in action…

The shocking insults and name-calling…

The relentless bullying…

The defamatory allegations…

The canned “industry-friendly” responses…

After you’ve seen it a few times, it becomes glaringly obvious. 

Astroturfing is effective because it diverts attention away from the REAL ISSUES.

It encourages people to talk smack about a person – like Dr. Oz is a “quack” and Food Babe is a “fearmonger” – versus the real issues of having Roundup weedkiller in our food and artificial dyes in our mac n’ cheese. They fear an honest discussion with what’s wrong with these chemicals in our food.

To show you what I’m up against, this is what happened after I was on national TV this week… 

An astroturfing campaign was kicked off by a woman who calls herself “Farm Babe” (wonder where she came up with that name?!). She is a conventional farmer who has worked as a “social media influencer” for Domino’s Pizza, Arctic Apples (GMO), Tyson Foods, and Elanco (maker of livestock drugs). She writes a regular column in Ag Daily – a publication backed by Monsanto and Bayer. Numerous makers of conventional farm feed and GMOs have hired her to speak at their events. She is literally working directly with Big Food and Ag brands. She also has a personal stake in the industry. On her farm she grows corn, soybeans, alfalfa and raises conventional beef on a feedlot that uses grains and growth hormones.

She works with many of the big players in Ag who are proponents of factory farming – something I want to change – so of course, she does not like what I stand for. So it was no surprise that she posted this on her Facebook page after my appearance on CNN:

I’ll address her comments about sewage sludge and antibiotics, but as you see below, her post engaged a swarm of people to send emails to CNN to complain about me and tell them to never have me on their network. Here are just a handful of responses to her post:

As you can see – there were swarms of people contacting CNN about my appearance.

After Farm Babe launched this astroturf attack, a science writer at The Daily Beast caught on…

I don’t know exactly how she got wind of it – but if I was a betting woman (and in this case, I would love to take a bet if I someone is daring enough to come forward to tell the truth about what happened here) – I would bet she was tipped off by Farm Babe herself or other industry-aligned people with an agenda.

The journalist Tanya Basu tried to fact check what I said – but instead FAILED miserably… 

In fact she completely disregarded what I said and made up a narrative that suited the FDA’s response. 

On CNN, I said I choose whole heads of lettuce (over bagged cut lettuce) because there are fewer points of potential contamination. I also made it clear that this wouldn’t always eliminate the risk and that you cannot wash E. coli off of contaminated lettuce. 

I said I like to minimize the touch points in the supply chain when I make food choices. The less processing a product goes through, the better. And this isn’t wrong – especially when it comes to lettuce.

Lettuce is known to be particularly tricky when it comes to food safety as everything ranging from “production practices, harvesting, packing, processing and food handling have all been linked to illnesses associated with leafy greens. E. coli can get into food through manure, contaminated water used during growing or harvesting, or improper food handling at a store, restaurant or home”. Buying a whole head of lettuce does minimize these touch points. 

She went on to state that some scientists have said my “hatred of additives” is rooted in “anti-science” and “perpetuates myths”. To back up this statement, she quotes Kevin Folta criticizing our successful campaign to remove azodicarbonamide from Subway’s bread. It is irresponsible that she uses this argument for two reasons. One – scientists do back up the fact that azodicarbonamide breaks down into carcinogens when baked. Secondly – Kevin Folta was the scientist quoted who is a known shill for the chemical industry.

Also, I am correct in stating that the overuse of antibiotics is creating superbugs that can’t be treated with antibiotics. According to the World Health Organization, “The high volume of antibiotics in food-producing animals contributes to the development of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria, particularly in settings of intensive animal production… Many of the bacteria (such as Salmonella, Campylobacter and Escherichia coli) carried by animals can also cause disease in people. These bacteria, which are frequently antimicrobial-resistant, can contaminate our food supply from farm to fork, such as through slaughtering and processing. Fruits and vegetables may also be contaminated by such bacteria at the farm or later through cross-contamination.”

As you can see, they try to mince my words on purpose to try to destroy my credibility.

What a journalistic fail on this writers fault. She does a real disservice to public safety by spending her time attacking me.

They want me to be scared and go away… 

They want to control the narrative – so that everything you see on TV, in the news, on billboards, and on food packages is pro-processed food, pro-chemical, pro-Big Ag, and pro-Big Food.

I refuse to let them silence me. I will not back down from telling people who will listen what I know. And plenty of people are listening. And this is WHY I wrote my new book Feeding You Lies.

I know these types of attacks will be ramping up as this book is hitting stores in a few short months. In the book, I go into greater detail on the many different ways the industry pulls stunts to fool the public (and the media). It’s eye-opening and you need to know what’s going on!

Please pre-order a copy of Feeding You Lies to show the food industry that you support the work I am doing. Pick up a couple extras for your loved ones, it makes a great gift!

ORDER NOW

Feeding You Lies

Available in stores everywhere

I need every single one of you by my side.

The best way to make astroturfing less effective is to tell everyone about it! Please share this post. 

Xo,

Vani

P.S. Here’s some additional information on Farm Babe’s claims for any science journalists that want to really fact check:

Fact Checking The Farm Babe SOURCES:

1Sewage Sludge as Fertilizer: Safe?

Agricultural use of sewage sludge

Antibiotic resistance of E. coli in sewage and sludge

Biosolids Hit The Fan

2. Big Beef keeps getting bigger, thanks to growth drugs with unclear safety records

The way some meat producers fatten up cattle is more bizarre than you might think

Farm Babe: What you need to know about growth hormones in meat

3. Critical antibiotics still used on US farm animals despite superbug crisis

Crucial antibiotics still used on US farms despite public health fears

4. Most grocery store meat contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria: 4 things to know

Antibiotics in Meat Could Be Damaging Our Guts

Another concern: Drug residues in meat

Watch the CNN clip here:

 

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145 responses to “How The Food Industry Tries to Silence Us (My Appearance on CNN…)

  1. THANK YOU for fighting this fight! My family is with you and appreciates all you do! The TRUTH will win in the end. Ordered your book and can’t wait to read it.

    1. Keep citing your resources so people have a chance to really check out the facts. Without them, people don’t have the time or inclination to find the resource themselves
      .

  2. Thanks for being willing to walk through the fire in order to be one of the few who actually tries to help others find health and freedom from toxic products.

    1. Thank you food babe it’s comforting to know with your research exposing all the horrible tricks and chemicals the big pharma and good corporations YOu and others like you protect usGod bless you and keep up the good fight!!!

  3. God over Money, Truth over scientific lies that are geared to manipulate naive minds into trusting the pro-processed food, pro-chemical, pro-Big Ag, and pro-Big Food beast! Keep fighting the good fight of Faith Vani!!! To see evil and not call it evil is evil!
    How utterly pathetic for them to think we will believe their contrived nefarious lies!!!
    They are VERY afraid and astroturfing is a direct result of that fear and insecurity that The Truth Shall set the masses FREE!!!

  4. Farm Babe is simply worried about her own “income source”, and that of her respective farming colleagues, How awful it is to know that she would actually try to put Food Babe “Down”, due to havinv no credentials? As IF what we’re “taught” by the combined effforts of Big Agriculture, Big Pharma & Financially backed big medicine, which ultimately leads to the degrees administered by Collegiate Studies all around, is anything but a whole lot of Horse Poo to begin with!? How Stupid Does Farm Babe Think We All Are? We are not that stupid, nor are we going to go for her Hog Wash & the Pun Is Intended! Lol! Keep Doing What Your Doing Food Babe & yeah, IF you’re able to make money leading us all up the road to having more choice in what we expect to buy, eat & be told, even Better! Let’s affect many other serious dollar industries from making $$$ on the declining deterioration of our health & wellness! You Go Food Babe! Glad there are still people that actually care about people over money!

  5. You are becoming very effective at directing people down a path of living a more healthy life and, at the same time, exposing the greed and fraud in the food industry. That is why they are attacking you with increasing venom. If you weren’t effective then they wouldn’t bother spending their time and energy attacking you. Just remember that the truth doesn’t need to be shouted at anyone in order to prevail. On the other hand, lies frequently are shouted and repeated in an attempt to cover up fraud. The Farm Babe and her minions have lost all credibility in my eyes.

    Keep up the good work Vani, : 0)

    1. Ok, if she’s so truthful about things, then how come when someone questions her she immediately blocks them from her site? Why doesn’t she talk to these scientists and farmers that question her instead of banning them from her Facebook page? Some of them truly want to understand where she is getting her information! My father had a small farm and was not college educated BUT, he know the right way to grow his crops, did real research and talked to real agriscientist to do it right! Science has made great strides since My Great Grandfather became a farmer! Less and less chemicals are used all the time, crop rotation is utilized and land conservation as well. It is illegal to use hormones in Chicken and pork, and no animal can be sold at market if there has been antibiotics used. It can’t be until the antibiotics have cleared their system!!!!! It is ILLEGAL!!!! But yet Food Babe is spreading those lies!!! You should ask yourself why! And I’m sure this post will disappear as soon as it’s posted, but hopefully some one will read it and they will think about it and start asking questions!!!!!

      1. Stacy my posts on this blog are always deleted. This one will be too even though it isn’t disrespectful or false

      2. Okay, I am trying not to be disrespectful. But…Really? Roundup/glyphosate use is not up? Insecticide use is not up? Petroleum based fertilizers like nitrates are not up? Dicamba use is not wreaking havoc everywhere? Biosolids are not used on conventional crops? One in two men and one in three women are not going to have cancer? Are you SERIOUS?!!! You should really read something. Anything. Do some actual research. (Try going outside if you actually live in farm country.) Unless you are just storytelling. In that case may I suggest a better tutor? “Less and less chemicals all of the time”? You should be able to come up with a company line better than that. Please. So blatantly false. Obvious. Record worldwide glyphosate sales. Dicamba wars. You should check it out. Surely you can do better. We’ll wait.

      3. Absolutely on point. The overall use of the chemical commonly referred to as Roundup has gone up because it has been proven time and time to be the most effective and least harmful of the options available to farmers, especially vs organic. Cancer rates are not going up, they are going down. It takes so little effort to find that and yet the commentors here seem to feel they have information that contradicts that and somehow you aren’t researching any of this. The people here don’t know unless Vani tells them. She’s never told them about the laws regulating these industries so they know nothing about them, and will even deny they exist or that they are being followed. The reason people want to set the record straight is because they hate that consumers are being ripped off by the organic industry.

      4. Sorry that you fail to see the truth that Vani is telling. I live in a farming area and many of these farmers are friends of mine. The farmers talk about how they raise their livestock, pigs and cows but mostly pigs. It’s just about enough to make you sick listening to the way they are fed and given growth hormones. So much of our food is just plain junk! And then there’s the GMO thing. I was given home grown vegetables from 2 different elderly farmers which I didn’t want to eat because they came from GMO seeds. I used the pumpkins as fall decorations, then saved them all winter and summer, they never got old or rotted. I used them again the next fall, they were still like they were fresh out of the garden! The zucchini didn’t get old either. I finally threw them away, they were like plastic food that never got old. Don’t you see a problem with this??!!

  6. Thank you so much for speaking the truth. Know that the majority of people are behind you and on your side!
    I was wondering if you’ve ever considered writing about the ingredients in vaccines? I know you only focus on food now, but a lot of the ingredients (additives and preservatives) are the same in both avenues. Not only that, but our bodies do not filter them out the same because they are injected vs ingested. We would love to hear your thoughts.

  7. I found this article from a scientific group I’m a part of on Facebook. This group was not upset about anything you spoke about in this article, but rather how there are thousands of scientists in the US who study/research food safety and instead you were the expert on this topic on CNN. It is frustrating to us that the people who dedicate their lives to studying these issues aren’t the ones answering the questions on CNN. This is not Vani’s fault, but rather a critique of CNN.

  8. there are so many out here who are cheering you on! Thank you for all you are doing despite the negativity that is constantly preying on you. You are doing so much good. Thank you, thank you!

  9. Thank you for all the hard work you put in and I am sorry you have to endure the trolls and shills. You are an amazing brilliant driven young woman. I ask the Universe to send you strength and peace to help you with this fight. I am so sick of this slow genocide being committed on us and our children through our toxic environment. I really admire you because it’s a big army you are going against however this is the age of disclosure.

  10. You are the premier example of astroturfing…the nonsense you publish and somehow get fools to buy into is truly shocking…that’s why CNN would have you on…they’re barely credible, and now they’ve lost more ground in the credibility rankings.

  11. I think it was a great interview and you weren’t putting blame on anyone, just stating the facts. Keep pushing along…..we’re here to support you.

  12. Everything in this world is driven by profit. Of course, there are harmful chemicals in our food and yes farms are using antibiotics for their cattle. This Farm Babe can say whatever she wants but people just need to open their eyes and look around. This world is full of sick people for a reason.

    Keep up the great work Food Babe!

  13. I love everything that Food Babe stands for. I’ve bought both books and products (which are unequivocally excellent, btw) and have followed her for years. I cannot, however, share her posts because they have gone from wonderfully informational to informational + self promotional. I hope all of her books sell out, but it detracts from the message when every article written promotes her products. It’s disingenuous, and I don’t think that people who are new to the Food Babe brand will take it well. Where are the old posts that showed sincere outrage without also selling a book or product? I miss those.

    Hope to see a trend towards the old, legitimately grass roots Food Babe ways soon.

  14. I believe you.

    Whenever someone has to disparage someone, like I see in these examples, in order to make their point of view seem more valid and legitimate, that’s a big red flag for me.

    When someone chooses to personally attack people who disagree with them instead of focusing on making sure everyone understands their own point of view and the resources that backs it up, I have no choice but to believe they no resources to talk about.

    If you want me to listen to your opposing point of view, then you should talk about your opposing point of view and leave negative, personal attacks out of it.

  15. You are such a hero, Food Babe/Vani. I used to be an advocate for a different (but also important) issue, and appalling tactics are used to shut up that issue’s advocates. Certain people don’t like it when their money source is threatened. I sure don’t get why money is more important than a person’s well-being, but apparently a lot of people disagree!

  16. Vani, Keep up all of your great work!!! You have your FoodBabe army beside you. You have been a great influence on me and I appreciate all of your hard work.
    Joanne

  17. These are the same tactics used by the Republican Party – People need to wake and stop being being deceived by propaganda, Lies are common and repeated over and over. Eventually people that are easy to deceive believe these lies. There is no better illustration of this then our president and lRepublican leaders like Grassley, Hatch, McConnel, Ryan and Nunes.

  18. Thank you. I believe in you and thank you for all the work you have done so far. I speak from experience in how food makes me feel. Cleaner food does make a huge difference. There are too many unnecessary ingredients in our foods. It is causing so much cancer and mental illness. We have a long way to go.

  19. Do you see those facebook comments? They all look too perfect. All the grammar is correct. They are all very similar. I also dug deeper into “Farm Babe” herself. There is something so fishy about it (and not to take away from Food Babe, I appreciate all you do) BUT I am so convinced this Michelle Miller is an online persona sent (and probably funded) by a bigger corp to take you on. Her domain was purchased in 2016… and all her youtube videos were made 1 year ago. Weird right? If you are really on a farm… why aren’t there more videos of your daily farm life? That whole story about moving to Iowa to be with your boyfriend on a farm… I don’t believe one bit of it. 🙂

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