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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!


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. 



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

  1. I know it must be hard but this is fuel to keep going. Vani, you are upsetting their financial apple cart. You are standing for all the people who are behind you, buying organic, but you are also standing for all the people who don’t even know better yet.
    Thank you for being the front runner.
    I admire you.

    1. Cheryl – it is hard, and the reason why they do this is for me to fight them instead of me continuing to educate the public about the truth.

      This happens all the time, but this case was so well documented online that I had to share how their playbook works to bring down activists like myself – but also how these tactics prevent us from achieving our ultimate health.

  2. Vani, I’m so sorry to see this! I admire what you are doing…please keep going!

    Who is this “Farm Babe” anyway? A random picture used by the powers that be (a fat guy in his mom’s basement?) to dispute you?

    There are many of us who follow you, Vani. Thanks for all you do.

    Caddy B

  3. They do the exact same thing to me Vani. After my recent piece in Time Magazine, they swarmed Time editors and posted blogs, etc.. denigrating Time for using my work.They’ve done the same to The Guardian, UnDark, etc… Their aim is to silence us.

    1. Carey – thanks for sharing your experience here. It’s important that we keep telling the public why this is happening. Keep up the great work! You are my hero.

  4. No one cares. We see it as a way of you trying to sell books. Just focus on the work you’re doing and again no one cares about this other stuff

    1. If you are bored then don’t come here and read it. Just go away. Those of us who actually care about our health and bodies aren’t bored.

      1. Exactly. These monster corps are real threats to the public. Im in the beauty industry. Xxx brand which grabbed tons of consumers out of breast cancer campaign, their products were known to be the cause of breast cancer. How ironic is that? Yet, the public doesn’t know a thing about the industry dirty fact. They just love the fact that this brand supports breast cancer patients and survivors. Sick.

    2. We do care and we do support Food Babe and all food advocates striving for a healthier world populace. And we do want lots of book sales, a deficient food supply is a problem for us all, not just for the uninformed or un-forewarned, but for all of us, as we are all connected to each other through FOOD!

  5. It’s all so very frustrating. We can’t solve the problem until we know what the cause is. I always buy organic whole heads of lettuce too and agree with your statement about having less touch points. I recently stopped going to my local weekly farmers market as it cut into my weekend, but need to make the effort again to support my local farmers and enjoy the freshness of what they have available.

    1. Good point, our local farmers are critical to support so they will be empowered to continue to provide healthful, fresh, local products ( some vetting is prudent still! Local does not automatically = organic nor even proper, sustainable, ethical, or uncontaminated products). Since they are local, they are far more likely to be known and care about their own community.

      I just wish Vani had not brought up birds flying over as a likely possible source of contamination. These outbreaks are usually from industrial practices gone awry.

  6. Vani: Would it be a good idea to direct followers to CNN’s comment section for this item? Have them spread some truth – with documentation from their own sources.

  7. You are a strong person! I’m always a skeptic and I’ve never found error in your findings. You are on my thankful list around thanksgiving time because I know it’s a lot of work and time and risk to do what you do and my family is thankful for you!!!

  8. Way to go, Vani!
    I have been aware of our food supply for over 50 years and how careful we need to be, so I cheer you on, big time!

  9. I support you as well!! I posted this to Facebook to help build our army. Ps- our family loves your vanilla protein powder and Tumeric!

  10. Keep up the good work Vani! Consumers need to educate themselves and support the healthy food movement because the fact that cancer and other diseases are on the rise is no coincidence. I used to live on a small family owned dairy farm and we decided NOT to use antibiotics (unless absolutely necessary for an infection) or growth hormones but we knew other farmers who did use them to fatten the profits. IT IS REAL! You have made some great changes and I am buying less and less from the super producers and more local. I don’t eat at any chain restaurants anymore and when I do eat out it is a local farm to table restaurant with a chef.

  11. Let them keep shaking in their boots Vani! Your movement is growing for a reason. Many sleeping souls have risen and refuse to continue to be fooled by companies that are only out for capital gain. Funny thought though, I’m sure all news outlets love to have you on as i’m Sure it brings ad revenue from those very companies trying to debunk you. I’m all for them spending all their fortunes paying for ‘real experts’ and for ads to try to downplay your impact. So Sad, if they only spent that money on making their foods safer and of the highest quality, they wouldn’t have to spend money on protecting their ‘wallets’. Keep on keeping on! ✊

  12. Don’t worry Vani, we know you are telling the truth and that these paid, messed up groups are liars and totally dishonest. To them $$ is worth more than life. Disgustingly evil!
    We are praying for you and support the good fight you have taken on!
    Keep it up, you are needed and your work is greatly appreciated!! Everyone knows you don’t need a science degree to have common sense.

  13. Vani, thank you so much for taking the stand for all of us and fighting the corrupted food system and people that just think about their own profits. It’s so sad, but I know we can change this one step at a time. Keep up the good work! Don’t let them get you discouraged. You are amazing!

  14. Oh honey I can only imagine how difficult this is for you and your family BUT IT ONLY SHOWS HOW IMPORTANT YOU HAVE BECOME. Be a threat and they will crucify you. I am an old woman now and been active in the “health food movement” since it’s beginning and I can tell you this is nothing new at all. They have been trying to get every supplement off the shelves and to debunk anyone saying sensible things for decades before you were born. YOU ARE DOING GREAT WORK. Keep it up and try not to get upset.

  15. Thank you for the work you are doing. It is important to inform as many people as possible.

  16. It is not only our food but also our medications that are being compromised! Stand tall and strong as CNN probably put you on so people could tear you up. I really thing they have people getting paid to sit at computers and slam anything good for America!

  17. Thanks for telling it like it is.

    Let’s remember, “Living well is the best revenge,” and you’re certainly improving so many people’s lives out here. I can’t remember the last time any at our house has eaten fast food.

    And from viewing your recent posted pictures you and yours are living well too. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I trust you Vani! I’ve been following you for years and you have helped me change my life for the better by changing what I eat! You are strong and remember what your name means? 🙂 Thank you for all you do. You are truly someone I look up to and inspire me to influence the people around me.

  19. You of all people are so passionate about getting the correct information and truth to the consumers.. I understand how people can become aggressive and try to create controversy because it’s truly their own fear of loosing control or envy over a person like yourself who is truly educated and wanting the best for humanity. The fact that this person calls herself “Farm Babe “ is a true indication of a person seeking attention and so consumed with trying to create disease amound the masses to draw more attention to there craziness ! Farm Babe (lol) is trying to divert attention to her not proven statements to again create fear ..
    Farm Babe =FEAR .
    Vani , you have helped countless people who truly have a much better life because they applied principles and your knowledge to their life .. Keep up the fantastic work !

  20. Thanks so much for your hard work, Vani! You are so brave to speak what is on my mind every day. I pre ordered your book and I can’t wait to read it!!

  21. Well done Vani! Kudos to you, a very courageous and brave woman! I’ve followed you since the beginning and have learned so much from your investigation on all areas of Food. Keep up the good work. The masses need this information. eventually it will trickle down into regular shoppers. In the meantime I keep you and yours in my prayers. There are jealous greedy people out there. Keep safe !

  22. Stay strong Vani! Their walls are crumbling and they will fight like the devil going down.

    And Farm Babe’s comment about growth promoting antibiotics haven’t been allowed since 2017. What? That’s so many months ago? It’s practically off all the store shelves. And what a bout sewage water contaminating lettuce. That was so earlier this year. We should just forget about that already, right .

  23. Of course Big Food & the Ag companies want you to go away. You are telling the truth. The only thing that can undermine corrupt, greedy, money grubbing capitalists is the truth. I’m so sorry you had to take up valuable time to defend yourself against the lies & manipulation being hurled at you. That shouldn’t be necessary, but unfortunately in this country, it is. As you will continue to hear from those who value the quality of what we consume, thank you for fighting the good fight. You are truly one of a kind.

  24. I am a farmer (albeit on a small scale) and it’s a great feeling to know where my food comes from and how it was grown and to have no concerns with putting it on my table for my family. Keep encouraging others!! People need to be aware of what is happening!

  25. Yes. That astroturfing happens in government campaigns like crazy! The lengths these corporations will go! Keep doing what you’re doing! There are so many of us behind you! People like you are so important for the health of this planet and its inhabitants! Thank you!

  26. The best way is to continue to inform people, and you need to be seen more around the US media and around the globe. Once people are informed, they can actually make smart decisions, and whomever tries to sway them away i.e “Farm Babe” they will not stand a chance since informed people make better and smarter decisions for themselves. I say lets petition for Vani to be in all the medias, to be interviewed and state her research, and whenever comes attacking her, show them the facts, which they do not lie. Cheers to our true health warrior, VANI!

  27. Vani, you need to stop blaming this “conspiracy” of food industry people. People dislike you because you present yourself as an expert when you’re clearly not. You have no real training and you have a poor grasp of nutritional science/biochemistry/pathophysiology. You don’t know how to assess literature without just accepting everything you read that sounds favorable to your opinion. Everyone I know who does not like you is well-trained in science: Dr’s, researchers, etc. This is no accident. These are people who understand how to accurately appraise scientific evidence. None of them even work in a field remotely close to the food industry. But they dislike you because you are misrepresenting yourself and mocking science in the process. The only people who follow you are the ones who don’t understand science anyway. If you want to actually do good and be useful, you need to learn how to read and evaluate research to determine what is scientifically sound and what is garbage. If you can’t do that, your opinion is no better than someone else’s. Anyone can be a self-declared “expert”.

    1. People DO like Food Babe – they don’t like YOU Matt. People like you who have nothing better to do with your time than come on sites like this “trying” to spread your deception. Go away and play in the swamp with your Big Ag friends. Your slip is showing.

  28. The more they attack you the more I stand by you! Good people know your right and what your doing is right. The more they try to take you down makes me even prouder to be a part of your team!!! THANK YOU FOR DOING WHAT YOU DO!!!



  29. Reading labels and choosing healthy food for myself and my family should not require a PhD to decipher the heaps of misinformation, trickery and lies. It feels like a full time job, especially since it keeps evolving. I so appreciate all the work you do and am so thankful that you can speak for us all that don’t have the platform you do. Don’t let them scare you. Hurting you will only make it more obvious what they’re doing. It is disgusting to me what is happening and shocking how many people don’t know or care. At the end I truly believe that the philosophy of the Food Babe Army will win. Go get ’em.

  30. Thanks for your warnings – we count on them to spend our food dollars to wisely and stay as healthy as possible. Don’t let their underhanded tactics slow you down but also protect yourself and your family as best you can.

    Try a little ridicule and laughter in response to their frontal attacks – less outrage.

    Practice reducing the hand waving during interviews – it may detract from your message and credibility.

    Anticipate the attacks when you are interviewed and briefly ask people to be alert to them as a sign that the truth is threatening to certain vested interests.

  31. Vani — we love and trust you. Don’t let these “weapons” come back at you. They are spewing from their mouth nonsense and don’t know what they are talking about. Keep up the good work. We appreciate you.

  32. Thank you for all you do I know how bad people can be with their bad propaganda to stop the real truth from getting out there, and you are the real deal when it comes to helping all of us to be safe. I just hate these liars that want to hurt you because it hurts all of us with their awlfull lies. Keep up the good work you do I appreciate it so much.

  33. Thank you for fighting! Ignorant people choose to be blind! Ugly diseases will be knocking at their door! We love everything you do for us! I met you years ago at a longevity conference of David Wolfe’s!

  34. Great work Vanni.
    Your cause is crucially important and you are the tip of the spear in this war.
    We can support you best by purchasing your information and your Truvani product line. Thank you for ALL you have done these past 15 years or so….and for all you will continue to do.

  35. Thank you for sharing this Vani (I never tune into CNN), and thank you for using this opportunity as a platform to educate the public on behalf of people like me that don’t have a broad audience or influence. Keep spreading the word, creating awareness, and voting with our dollars- that’s what we must do every. single. day. to make a change. The bullies and liars will always be prevalent- but they sure as hell won’t prevail.

  36. Big Pharma, big Agra and all the rest have a lot to fear. With social media we are learning the truth about what they are doing to us and to our planet. I love capitalism because I can choose not to purchase products. They have to make me happy or I won’t buy their stuff. And I am not happy. No more processed food for me. I buy local, one ingredient foods.

  37. Thanks for always putting people first and it is very evident in everything you do. I want to acknowledge you and you only and not provide any feedback on the other person. You have earned my professional respect and kudos to you for making any kind of profit. You deserve it and have earned every penny. Keep up the great work you do Vani and I will support you all the way.

    CNN sees you and look towards you for your professional opinion and for that I am very proud of you! I would like to professionally say to CNN that we are very fortunate that we have someone like Vani who cares about us and making us aware of what is in our food and fighting the good fight for healthier people.

    Your Canadian friend thanks you!

  38. I have always followed you, food babe, but I have to say I would like to see more hard scientific evidence and careful research on your part. I know it isn’t easy, but when so many scientific sources compare you to Jenny McCarthy and anti-vaccers, that’s when alarm bells go off for me. So please keep doing what you are doing, but also get reputable scientists on your side not working for big pharmaceutical/food companies and not trying to “sell out” because most of those people do what they are doing for the love of science—not to make money. If you do this, you will have far more people on your side and fewer people comparing you to those who have not done their research! Maybe spend less time promoting your book and more time finding a balance and you will gain more followers in the long run, not fewer.

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