(or Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Food Babe?)
Although the article that inspired me to write about Vani Hari is from several months ago, the news is worth sharing again. For anyone who has ever thought they can’t make a big difference, think again and read on. Meet Vani Hari, known as The Food Babe. Vani is a true crusader for truth in what we eat and drink. She is a nationally recognized fearless leader in the new food revolution and is working tirelessly to wake people up to the truth about our health, our food and our future. Great, right? When she is not writing, blogging or public speaking about those subjects, she is taking on the food industry – big time.
Her target earlier this year was none other than food giant General Mills. Vani launched an assault on them over a preservative called Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT). The chemical keeps cereals like Rice Krispies fresh for longer on the shelves but has been BANNED IN MANY PARTS OF THE WORLD for having wreaked havoc during animal testing (which also gives me pause.) When Vani first reached out to them they basically told her not to sweat it and that BHT was FDA-approved. So sad that that news did not surprise me at all.
So what did this Food Babe do? She got ticked off for being dismissed so lightly over such an important issue and launched a petition to have BHT removed from all General Mills and Kellogg’s products. Here’s where the “think you can’t make a difference” part comes in. A few hours later, when the petition had racked up 17,000 signatures, General Mills started sending out this exact message to anyone who tweeted them about BHT: “Thanks, Tweeter – BHT is FDA-approved but we’re already well down the path of removing it from our cereals.”
General Mills told the Observer that Ms. Hari didn’t factor into their decision-making at all, and that this has been something in the works for a long time. Their statement in full:
“BHT is an FDA-approved food ingredient, but we’re already well down the path of removing it from our cereals. This change is not for safety reasons, but because we think consumers will embrace it. We’ve never spoken with Vani Hari and she did not play any role in our decision. Many of our US Cereals do not contain BHT including: Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, Trix, Kix and Lucky Charms. Our removal of BHT from cereals is well underway and has been for more than a year.”
As for me, I believe Vani has stepped up her game and gotten credible researchers and scientists on her Board of Advisors because the food industry is coming after her big time. I believe she did play a role in getting General Mills to make changes because thousands of consumers are getting their attention. And I can’t help but wonder – what are they afraid of? A food babe armed with facts?
See what else Vani has been up to at FoodBabe.com.