Vani Hari Declines to Reveal Heavy Metal Content of Flagship Truvani Product

truvani vani hari banner

Speak of no heavy metals, see no heavy metals, hear of no heavy metals… and there will be no heavy metals: right? Well, maybe. It would be helpful if Truvani would release the lab report they claim to have.

For a company that prides itself on complete ingredient transparency,1 Vani Hari’s Truvani line is off to a poor start.  In spite of her January 3, 2018 Facebook post boasting of a “clean” glyphosate and heavy metals test,2 Hari has spent the past two months ignoring repeated requests to release lab results backing her claims.

I’m one of several interested parties who have made multiple requests through the official contact numbers and addresses listed by Truvani.3  Truvani’s physical address is actually a mail drop located in a strip mall in Las Vegas, sandwiched between a beauty salon and a dry cleaner.  Her phone line is an unmanned voice mailbox.

Unsurprisingly, all of our inquiries have been ignored.  This alone does not mean Hari has something to hide.  However, the discovery of even trace amounts of heavy metals in this company’s products would be damning to the “Food Babe”, who has gone on record saying there is no safe amount of any chemical to ingest, and has made a career out of disparaging trace amounts of chemicals in competitors’ products (while selling those same ingredients in her own online store).

If you’d like to add your voice and call for the same transparency that Hari demands in the products of others, the company phone number is:

(980) 292-0438

This is a voice mailbox in Charlotte, NC.  There’s no human manning the phones, but you can leave a message.  Ask that the full lab report for Truvani’s turmeric heavy metal analysis be released publicly. Please be polite.  

Sending physical mail to Truvani’s legal business address is an exercise in futility.  Listed as “848 N. Rainbow Blvd, Unit #8187, Las Vegas, NV 89107,”3 the address is nothing more than a mail drop in a small strip mall in Las Vegas (photo, below). You can send a letter, but don’t expect a reply.

Truvani's "corporate headquarters"

Truvani’s official business address is a “Mail Link” franchise,  wedged between a dry cleaner and beauty salon in a Las Vegas strip mall. Don’t expect a reply if you send mail. (click/enlarge).  Photo © 2018 Google Maps.

Finally, you might try (as we did) emailing Truvani and asking for the release of the full lab report.  We received no response, but perhaps if the outcry is great enough… The listed email address is:

support@truvanilife.com

If you’re lucky enough to get a response, I’d love to hear from you here at the blog or via the Bad Science Debunked Facebook page.  There may be nothing to see, but it rings hollow that Hari, one of the loudest voices shouting for transparency in the food industry, refuses to disclose lab reports that she claims to have in hand.

Suggested Twitter hashtags if you tweet this article:

#FoodBabeArmy  #FoodBabeWay  @FoodBabe

Bonus Coverage: Chemicals in Truvani Turmeric
Vani Hari dances around the issue of chemicals in her flagship turmeric product by saying there are no “added” chemicals.  Well, added by who?  As we know, everything is a chemical, and it matters not where the chemical came from.  While we wait on Vani’s lab reports, I thought I’d show you some of the chemicals you’re buying with every bottle of Truvani turmeric.

“Major phytoconstituents of turmeric are diarylheptanoids, which occur in a mixture termed curcuminoids that generally make up approximately 1–6% of turmeric by dry weight. Most crude extracts prepared from turmeric, and even some refined “curcumin” materials, contain three major compounds”4  — The Essential Medicinal Chemistry of Curcumin
(Journal of Medicinal Chemistry)

 

Curcumin, found in TruVani’s product  (Click to enlarge).   Courtesy Pubchem. See references.

 

Bisdemethoxycurcumin, also found in TruVani's

Bisdemethoxycurcumin, also found in TruVani’s product.  (Click to enlarge).   Courtesy Pubchem. See references.

 

Demethoxycurcumin, another chemical found in TruVani's [todo]

Demethoxycurcumin, a Truvani offering.  (Click to enlarge).  Courtesy Pubchem. See references.

 

 

Curcumin, a major component of TruVani Turmeric, is loaded with chemicals

Curcumin, a major component of TruVani Turmeric, is loaded with chemicals (click/enlarge)

References
(1) Truvani Mission Statement on Ingredient Transparency
Warning: Not a scholarly or educational link
https://www.truvanilife.com/
Retrieved 17 Mar 2018

(2) Vani Hari Heavy Metals Claim on Facebook
Warning: Not a scholarly or educational link
https://www.facebook.com/thefoodbabe/photos/a.208386335862752.56063.132535093447877/1789015851133118/?type=3&theater
Retrieved 17 Mar 2018

(3) Truvani Contact Information
https://www.truvanilife.com/contact
Retrieved 17 Mar 2018

(4) The Essential Medicinal Chemistry of Curcumin
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
2017 Mar 9;60(5):1620-1637
Kathryn M. Nelson, Jayme L. Dahlin, Jonathan Bisson, James Graham, Guido F. Pauli, and Michael A. Walters
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5346970/
Retrieved 21 Nov 2017

(5) Curcumin (Compound Summary for CID 969516)
https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/969516
Retrieved 21 Nov 2017

(6) Demethoxycurcumin (Compound Summary for CID 5469424)
https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/5469424
Retrieved 21 Nov 2017

(7) Bisdemethoxycurcumin (Compound Summary for CID 5315472)
https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/5315472
Retrieved 21 Nov 2017

Image Credits
Curcumin image Copyright © 2017 American Chemical Society, from an open access article published under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial No Derivative Works (CC-BY-NC-ND) Attribution License, which permits copying and redistribution of the article, and creation of adaptations, all for non-commercial purposes.

Curcumin Image (Compound  CID 969516) from PubChem, https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/969516

Demethoxycurcumin Image (Compound CID 5469424) from PubChem,
https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/5469424

Bisdemethoxycurcumin Image (Compound CID 5315472) from PubChem,
https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/5315472

The Quack Doctor/Blogger Quiz

Bad Science Debunked Quiz

So you think you know your con artists?

Which major organization did “holistic psychiatrist” Kelly Brogan falsely accuse of supporting birth control in Africa via vaccinations?

What inanimate substance did woo peddler David Wolfe hilariously claim is alive?

Which doctor sells the most “toxic”, heavy-metal containing products branded in his own name: Mercola, Hyman, or Oz?

If you think you know the answers, try my thirty-question Playbuzz quiz.  (I got really bored last night, and we were out of blackberry wine and red velvet cupcakes, so I put this quiz together). Click the image below to launch:

Bad Science Debunked Quack Doctor Quiz

Try the quiz! (Click to launch)

Modern Alternative Mama’s Skin Cancer Extravaganza

Kate Tietje (“Modern Alternative Mama”) is a scientifically illiterate mommy blogger who routinely hands out some of the most dangerous advice on the internet. I’ve previously covered her shameful “vaccine injury awareness month” (meant to counter Breast Cancer Awareness Month–yeah, figure that one out) and the endangerment of her children through neglect. Today I’d like to go back to basics and concentrate on points that even her 57,000+ pseudoscience-loving followers will be able to grasp: hypocrisy and lies.

There will be no squirming out of this one, Kate.

In a recent article, “Have You Gotten Your Sunscreen Yet This Summer?”,1,2 Tietje has this to say about sunscreen ingredients:

“I’m not really comfortable with the physical blockers, like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. I know they are common in “natural” sunscreens and probably fine, but I just do not want to rub that on my children’s skin. I don’t know, I worry. Maybe that’s crazy.” (emphasis mine)

Whoa! Crazy, indeed! Sherman, set the wayback machine7 to a month earlier and let’s peek at another Modern Alternative Mama (MAM) post:3

“It’s been awhile since I’ve done a giveaway here. But, I know that you will truly love this company [BanjOrganics] and I wanted to share it with you.”

Yes, it’s MAMs huge “BanjOrganics Giveaway” contest! The lucky winner takes home a gift basket chock full of natural products, including a jar of sunscreen. Let’s have a look at the ingredients in that sunscreen, shall we?4

banjorganics modern alternative mama sunscreen

BanjOrganics sunscreen ingredients. Note the zinc oxide

Oh dear.  See the highlighted ingredient?  Zinc oxide? What was it that Kate said about zinc oxide? Oh yes… she’s not comfortable with it and just doesn’t want to rub it on her children’s skin.

I suppose one way to avoid exposing your children to “toxic” ingredients is to pawn them off on unsuspecting readers.

So, what does Tietje use on her children? Well, sadly, she freely confesses she’d rather let them run around in the sun unprotected and burn. But when she does apply a sunscreen to her endangered kiddos, she makes her own.

Unfortunately, by her own admission (she doesn’t know it yet–hint hint), she’s using an ingredient that she claims will give the kids skin cancer.

Let’s walk through this. First, here’s her homemade sunscreen recipe.  Take note of the highlighted ingredient.  It will be important later.

Mama's sunscreen ingredients.  Note the raspberries.

Mama’s sunscreen ingredients.  Note the raspberries.

 

Next, we have to remind ourselves of a sunscreen additive that Modern Alternative Mama told us that we must avoid.  She lays this out clearly in her article “What to Look For in Non-Toxic Sunscreen”:5

vita

Hmmm… avoid vitamin A in sunscreens because, according to intrepid scientist Kate Tietje, it can speed development of tumors when applied to skin in the presence of sunlight.  Really?

I think you can see where this is heading.  Remember those raspberries in Mama’s homemade sunscreen?

According to the USDA, raspberries are a rich source of vitamin A:6

usda raspberry

USDA raspberry nutritional information. (click/enlarge)

 

So… vitamin A in sunscreen leads to the possibility of tumors, and Modern Alternative Mama is pushing a sunscreen recipe rich in vitamin A.  Or were we supposed to go back to the zinc oxide solution she’s giving away to readers, but is afraid to use on her own children?

Needless to say, none of the products or ingredients mentioned in this article are actually dangerous.  I’d be happy to debate the issues with Tietje, but like everyone else who questioned her bad science, I was banned from her Facebook page.

 

Image Credits
Modern Alternative Mama, Facebook, and BanjOrganics screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

References
(1) Have you gotten your Sunscreen yet this summer? (Facebook Intro)
https://www.facebook.com/ModernAlternativeMama/posts/10152975556317913

(2) Have you gotten your Sunscreen yet this summer? (Facebook-Linked Blog Post)
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2015/05/11/natural-gentle-sunscreen-salve/

(3) Modern Alternative Mama BanjOrganics Giveaway
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2015/04/28/banjorganics-giveaway/

(4) BanjOrganics Sunscreen Ingredients
http://www.banjorganics.com/#!product/prd1/1903932945/sunscreen

(5) What to Look For in Non-Toxic Sunscreen
http://www.modernalternativemama.com/2014/07/03/look-non-toxic-sunscreen/

(6) USDA Raspberry Nutrient Profile
http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/2419

(7) The WayBack Machine
http://www.moonmoth.net/paelks/history/wayback.htm

Food Babe: Tell Us When You’re Going To Drop The BHT

Vani Hari, the world’s greatest hypocrite, made an ironic post to Facebook today,1 reminding Kellogg’s and General Mills that it’s been four months since she petitioned them to remove the preservative BHT from their products:

” It’s now been 4 MONTHS since we launched this petition, and we still have no timeline from either of these companies.”–Food Babe Facebook post

The irony stems from the fact that it’s been four months since I caught Food Babe selling a BHT-laden product2–a body scrub she claimed to use daily.  And, despite a poorly constructed excuse3 and a promise to remove the item from her web site, she’s still pushing it via Pinterest4… four months later.

“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”–Hamlet, Act III, Scene II

Food Babe sold the product in question for nearly three years and says she personally uses every item she sells.  How did she miss the BHT on the label?  Inquiring minds want to know.  We’d also like to know why most of the products sold by Vani Hari contain the same ingredients she says are dangerous.  Of course, we can’t ask her, because commentary on her Facebook page and web site is heavily censored.  Anyone pointing out her double standards is immediately banned.

But, anyway… tell us, Food Babe: when are you going to drop the BHT?  It has, as you say, been four months.

 

food babe facebook

Food Babe’s rather hypocritical Facebook post. (click/enlarge)

 

food babe pinterest bht

Screen capture of Food Babe’s Pinterest page on June 5, 2015.  Note the BHT-laden Fresh Brown Body Polish.  (click/enlarge)

 

ingredients

Purchased from FoodBabe.com in February, 2015, Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish clearly contains BHT. (click/enlarge)

 

References
(1) Food Babe Facebook Post (June 6, 2015)
Food Babe Facebook Post (June 6, 2015)

(2) Manufacturer Confirms Hari Wrong About Ingredients; BHT Product Purchased from FoodBabe.com
Manufacturer Confirms Hari Wrong About Ingredients; BHT Product Purchased from FoodBabe.com

(3) Food Babe’s BHT Denial Doesn’t Hold Water
Food Babe’s BHT Denial Doesn’t Hold Water

(4) Food Babe Pinterest Beauty Page
Food Babe Pinterest Beauty Page

Image Credits
Fresh and Food Babe screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

She Did It Again! Food Babe Linked To Another Company Using Same Dyes She Forbids

As if more proof was needed of Vani Hari’s hypocrisy and double standards, the self-styled “Food Babe” can now definitively be linked to a third company using the very same dyes  featured in her campaigns against the likes of Nestle, Kraft, and McDonald’s.

Food Babe earns sales commissions on Giovanni beauty products via an article on “holistic health care” (yes, it’s OK to roll your eyes in amusement).1  Several of her affiliate’s offerings contain dyes such as Red #40 and Yellow #5,2  which the Babe links to a variety of diseases and conditions in her petition wars against other corporations that use the same additives.

Hari cannot excuse herself on the grounds that Giovanni isn’t offering food products, because she explicitly warns against beauty products containing these dyes as well.3  The question must be asked: if she’s dead set on companies removing these ingredients from their products, why is she affiliated with such companies?

The Giovanni news is only the tip of the iceberg.  Food Babe blatantly sells a line of Tarte lip stains containing her “forbidden” dyes via her web site’s shopping page,4 and has been selling another line of cosmetics (Josie Maran) containing the dyes since 2013.5

Giovanni, Tarte, and the other companies mentioned here all have wonderful safety records and I hope they will not be punished because Vani Hari chose to align herself with them.

This is a well established pattern.  Recently, I wrote that Hari has been selling a product containing the preservative BHT, even while she led a petition drive against General Mills and Kellogg’s for using the same additive.  Though she quietly pulled the item from her web site, she continues feature it on her Pinterest page.6

Worse, Food Babe publicly threw her affiliate under the bus, claiming they were “sneaky” about the ingredients listed on their web site–a curious statement coming from an activist who claims to personally use every product she sells.7  The manufacturer clearly lists BHT as an ingredient, and Food Babe urges her followers to always read the product labels.  How did she go nearly 3 years without seeing the BHT?

The bigger questions are, (1) how much longer will members of the “Food Babe Army” (#FoodBabeArmy) continue to blindly follow a leader who obviously doesn’t practice what she preaches, and (2) when will American news organizations stop breathlessly promoting Hari as an activist working for the public good, and instead take just 5 minutes to do what I’ve done (check the ingredients of her products against the list of those she says are dangerous)?

 

 

food babe giovanni

Giovanni beauty products feature prominently in Hari’s Holistic Hair Care article. (click/enlarge)

 

Food Babe highly recommends this company's products. (click/enlarge)

Food Babe highly recommends this company’s products, despite the fact several contain dyes she claims are dangerous.  Experts disagree with Hari–the ingredients are safe.  Please don’t punish Giovanni for Hari’s mistakes.  (click/enlarge)

 

food babe giovanni yellow 5

Giovanni uses safe dyes that Food Babe says are dangerous–but sells anyway.  Confused?  So is she, apparently.  This product contains the same dyes (red 40, yellow 5) over which she lambasts McDonald’s.  And yes, she says the dyes are dangerous in beauty products as well as food products.  (click/enlarge)

 

 

food babe pinterest

Food Babe continues to sell Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish, which contains BHT, while she’s simultaneously campaigning against Kellogg’s and General Mills to remove BHT. (click/enlarge)

 

Image Credits
Food Babe, Pinterest, Giovanni screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

References
(1) Food Babe Holistic Hair Care
http://foodbabe.com/2011/11/06/holistic-hair-care-how-why/

(2) Giovanni Product Ingredients
http://www.giovannicosmetics.com/GIOVANNI-INGREDIENT-LIST.PDF

(3) Be A Drug Store Beauty Dropout!
http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/31/how-to-find-safe-beauty-products/

(4) Food Babe Slams Kraft Over Three Dyes but Sells Same
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/food-babe-slams-kraft-over-three-dyes-but-sells-same/

(5) Food Babe “Staring” at Nestle Over Dyes; Should be Looking in the Mirror
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/food-babe-staring-at-nestle-over-dyes-should-be-looking-in-the-mirror/

(6) Food Babe Pinterest
https://www.pinterest.com/foodbabe/beauty-products/

(7) Food Babe’s BHT Denial Doesn’t Hold Water
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/food-babes-bht-denial-doesnt-hold-water/

Food Babe “Staring” at Nestle Over Dyes; Should Be Looking In the Mirror

Yesterday, Vani Hari (the Food Babe) warned Hershey’s that she was “staring” at them after Nestle announced the pending removal of FDA-approved dyes from their chocolate products.1

Hari should have been looking in a mirror, as I’ve found her affiliated with a company selling products containing the same dyes.  (She’s already been caught in a separate dye blunder earlier this week.)

As early as 2013, Food Babe has been in a relationship with Josie Maran cosmetics, earning sales commissions from at least two of their products via her web site.2

Several Josie Maran offerings include the same dyes featured in Nestle’s press release, including Red #40 and Yellow #5.3,4,5,6  Hari campaigns vigorously against yellow #5.  The two items I found on Hari’s web site don’t contain the dyes in question, but that’s beside the point–Food Babe argues (quite loudly) that companies should not be using these dyes at all.  So why is she in business with a company that sells them?

food babe hershey nestle

Food Babe is staring at Hershey’s.  She should have been looking at herself. (click/enlarge)

 

For the record: experts say that these dyes have been extensively tested. They are considered safe by the FDA.7  Josie Maran has an excellent safety record and there is no reason to punish this company because of the poor research and double standards exhibited by Food Babe.

This isn’t the first time Food Babe has been caught out on the dye issue.  On February 16, I revealed that she has been selling a lip stain that contains 3 dyes over which she berated Kraft.8  She has yet to respond.

Why is it OK for Food Babe to scold Nestle because their products contain (safe) dyes and colorings when she’s connected with a company that’s doing the same thing?  How much longer will her double standards and hypocrisy be allowed to go unchecked?

Josie Maran lip stain ingredients.  "Lakes" are water insoluble forms.  "May contain" presumably takes into account that the list is for multiple colors.  (click/enlarge)

Josie Maran lip stain ingredients.  Both straight dyes and “lakes” are found.  Lakes are water insoluble forms–see my article here.  “May contain” presumably takes into account that the list is for multiple colors.  (click/enlarge)

 

Edit History
The original article incorrectly said that the Nestle press release stated dyes were being removed from all products.  It should have said all CHOCOLATE products.  This has been corrected.

Image Credits
Josie Maran and Food Babe screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

References
(1) Nestle Announcement
http://www.nestleusa.com/media/pressreleases/nestl%C3%A9-usa-commits-to-removing-artificial-flavors-and-fda-certified-colors-from-all-nestl%C3%A9-chocolate-candy-by-the-end-of-20

(2) Food Babe Shopping
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-beauty/

(3) Josie Maran Coconut Water Lip Stain Ingredients (Manufacturer Web Site)
http://www.josiemarancosmetics.com/coconut-watercolor-lip-stain-shine.html#.VOUXiMa5X_4

(4) Josie Maran Argan Love Your Lips Hydrating Lipstick
http://www.josiemarancosmetics.com/argan-love-your-lips-hydrating-lipstick.html#.VOUvnMa5X_4

(5) Josie Maran Argan Color Stick
http://www.josiemarancosmetics.com/argan-color-stick.html#.VOUvP8a5X_4

(6) Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee
http://www.josiemarancosmetics.com/coconut-watercolor-cheek-gelee.html#.VOUc6ca5X_4

(7) FDA: Color Additives
http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/

(8) Food Babe Slams Kraft Over Three Dyes But Sells Same (Bad Science Debunked)
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/food-babe-slams-kraft-over-three-dyes-but-sells-same/

Food Babe Slams Kraft Over Three Dyes but Sells Same

Note: In December 2015, after two years of selling this product, Vani Hari quietly pulled it from her shopping page without any explanation.  She had previously refused to remove the lip stains described here despite numerous (very public) warnings that it contained the same ingredients she claimed were dangerous.  

Despite a very vocal campaign against Kraft over the use of the dyes Blue #1, Yellow #5, and Yellow #6 in their products,1,2 Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”) sells items containing a form of these same dyes via her shopping page, and has apparently been doing so since December, 2013.

The items sold by Kraft are food products, while those sold by Hari are cosmetics intended for use on the lips.

The only difference in the dyes is the addition of a metallic salt in the cosmetics to prevent the dyes from becoming water soluble.  Unfortunately for Hari, the metal in question is aluminum, which she falsely links to Alzheimer’s disease and breast cancer.3,14  It must be pointed out that experts in food/product safety strongly disagree with Hari over her claims about the dyes in question–and the aluminum.

Not only did Food Babe miss the presence of the dyes in an item that she claims to use personally–also escaping her attention were 4 compounds she specifically warns should be avoided in beauty products because of alleged endocrine system disruption,4 saccharine (which she says is toxic),5 and retinyl palmitate (which she falsely links to skin cancer when used in the presence of the sun).6

I am not writing as an expert in food and product safety–only to point out Food Babe’s double standards.  The products being discussed in this article all have a solid safety record.  Please keep that in mind as you read.

Hari earns an Amazon.com sales commission via click-throughs on a Tarte Cosmetics link on her shopping page, where she features that company’s Lipsurgence Lip Stain:7

capture19

Screen capture of FoodBabe.com shopping page. Note the highlighted Amazon affiliate ID. (click/enlarge).

 

There are several color options available.  Let’s have a look at the full list of ingredients, according to the Tarte web site.8  Please click to the image to enlarge in a new window.

Tarte Lipsurgence dyes

Ingredients for the full color array of Tarte Lipsurgence lip stains. (click/enlarge)

 

A bit of explanation is in order here.  You’ll notice the word “lake” after each of the dyes.  According to the FDA, approved dyes become lakes when a “salt” is added to make them non-water soluble.9  Simply put, in some products (such as cosmetics or potato chips) you don’t want the colors to run.  According to both the FDA and the manufacturer, the salt in this case is an aluminum compound (e.g., aluminum hydroxide).

Does making the dyes into lakes change their toxicology?  That is, would you expect them to behave in a different manner than Hari’s gloom and doom cherry picked “research” would indicate?  I’m not a chemistry expert, but I found 3 scholarly resources who all cite the FDA.  These sources state that for toxicological purposes, the dyes and their lake forms are identical.10,11,12

Of course, if Food Babe wants to argue this point, she’s left in the awkward position of explaining how the addition of an element she claims to be toxic (aluminum) to a dye she claims is toxic suddenly makes both safe.

 

image

The FDA says lakes are used when you don’t want colors to run–like in this bag of potato chips.    (click/enlarge)

So how long has Food Babe been selling Blue #1 lake, Yellow #5 lake, and Yellow #6 lake? A quick look at the source code of her shopping page at FoodBabe.com7 suggests that she’s been doing this since December, 2013.  By convention, uploaded content (such as product images) is stored in folders tagged with the month and year the content was stored on the web site.  Looking at the screen snapshot below, the association is readily apparent:

Capture

Food Babe appears to have uploaded her Tarte Cosmetics content in December, 2013. (click/enlarge).

 

But, as I said in the introduction, the food coloring is only the tip of the iceberg.  In “Be a Drug Store Beauty Dropout”, Hari warns her readers to avoid the following in all beauty products:

“Siloxanes. Look for ingredients ending in “-siloxane” or “-methicone.” Used in a variety of cosmetics to soften, smooth and moisten. Suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.” 4  (emphasis mine)

Yet the product she sells and claims to personally use includes:

  1. Cyclopentasiloxane
  2. Phenyl Trimethicone
  3. Dimethicone
  4. Castor Oil Bis-hydroxypropyl dimethicone esters

For someone who previously tried to blame a manufacturer’s web site when caught red-handed, the following online ingredient list isn’t good news: (click to enlarge):

methicones and siloxanes

“methicones” and “siloxanes”–Food Babe somehow missed all of these. (click/enlarge)

 

I’d like to pause here and remind the reader that all of these ingredients have been studied by experts who, unlike Hari and myself, are qualified to pass judgement on them.  Tarte is a reputable company with a superb safety record and I hope that Ms. Hari’s lack of research doesn’t reflect negatively on them.  When caught in this situation before, Food Babe’s response has been to blame the manufacturer for her own mistakes.

I’ve contacted Tarte customer service several times with questions about their ingredients and have always received swift replies with references to scientific literature and government safety regulations.  Just like Kraft, Tarte is selling products that experts overwhelmingly say are safe.  Please do not punish an honest company for Vani Hari’s mistakes.

Having said that:  Food Babe’s lip stain also contains saccharin, which she links to unspecified diseases,5 retinyl palmitate (vitamin A), which she falsely links to cancer,6 and even an IARC group 2B carcinogen (titanium dioxide)–significant because it’s on the very same list as “4-Mel”, a compound found in the caramel coloring over which she previously lambasted Starbucks.13

Of course all of these additives are recognized as safe–it’s just that Food Babe cherry picks literature to make them sound dangerous.  Rather than debate the safety issue with her, however, why not just ask her: if these additive are so dangerous, why does she sell so many products that contain them?  It’s hard to find an item on the Food Babe shopping page that doesn’t contain something she says is harmful.  And yet she accuses other companies of hypocrisy and double standards?

there's more

Food Babe says all these additives are dangerous.  They’re not.  But why is she selling products that contain them?  (click/enlarge).

 

[edited for clarity: statement on aluminum hydroxide clarified 17 Feb 2015]

Image Credits
Amazon.com, Tarte, and Food Babe screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Edit History
16 Feb 2015–Added additional reference for Food Babe aluminum toxicity claim

References
(1) Food Babe Kraft Complaint
http://foodbabe.com/2013/03/25/kraft-acknowledged-petition-but-didnt-address-concerns-of-over-a-quarter-million-people/

(2) Food Babe Kraft/Jello Complaint
http://foodbabe.com/2014/05/21/this-childhood-favorite-has-a-warning-label-in-europe-why-not-here/

(3) Food Babe “Throw This Out Of Your Bathroom Cabinet Immediately”
http://foodbabe.com/2013/04/10/throw-this-out-of-your-bathroom-cabinet-immediately/

(4) Be a Drug Store Beauty Dropout
http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/31/how-to-find-safe-beauty-products/

(5) Habits for the New Year and Beyond – #2 Develop a Distaste for Refined Sugar
http://foodbabe.com/tag/refined/

(6) The Ingredients in Sunscreen Destroying Your Health
http://foodbabe.com/2013/05/05/what-you-need-to-know-before-you-ever-buy-sunscreen-again/

(7) Shopping at Food Babe.com
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-beauty/

(8) Tarte Lipsurgence Full Ingredients (official site)
http://tartecosmetics.com/tarte-item-lipsurgence-natural-matte-lip-tint

(9) FDA Color Additive Status List
http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/ColorAdditiveInventories/ucm106626.htm

(10) Food Additive Toxicology
Maga, CRC Press, Sep 13, 1994. p. 185.
https://books.google.com/books?id=6mGmxYqqiREC&pg=PA185&lpg=PA185&dq=fda+lakes+toxicology&source=bl&ots=vO3fpYSTc9&sig=NWIh5whBHCLLOZTvxCpYaBskYe8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=KB7iVOXTOfXCsASw1oDgDA&ved=0CD4Q6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=fda%20lakes%20toxicology&f=false

(11) Handbook of Food Toxicology
Deshpande S.S., CRC Press, Aug 29, 2002. ISBN 0-8247-0760-5. p. 228.
https://books.google.com/books?id=Ex5QNLO-UkMC&dq=fda+lakes+toxicology+deshpande&source=gbs_navlinks_s

(12) Food Safety Handbook
Schmidt R, Roderick G,  Wiley, Mar 10, 2003. ISBN 0-471-21064-1. p. 254

(13) Wake Up And Smell the Chemicals
http://foodbabe.com/2014/09/02/drink-starbucks-wake-up-and-smell-the-chemicals/

(14) How to Find the Best Natural Mascara that Actually Works
http://foodbabe.com/2013/07/27/how-to-find-the-best-natural-mascara-that-actually-works/#more-14046

Food Babe’s BHT Denial Doesn’t Hold Water

After it was revealed that Food Babe (Vani Hari) has been selling a product containing BHT for over 2 years–while simultaneously blasting other companies for doing the same–she quickly (and quietly) pulled the item from her web site.  What’s incredible is that Hari is now saying she didn’t know what was in a body polish she claimed to personally use–despite the fact that each and every box is clearly labeled with the ingredients.

food babe bht denial

Food Babe denial.  (Click/enlarge).

Hari says “there’s no story here”.  On the contrary:

Vani Hari claims to use each and every product she sells.  The packaging of this item could not be more clear: it contains BHT.  If she actually uses the body polish, Food Babe could not have missed this.  It doesn’t matter what a  web site said.  Trying to shift the blame onto a company with which she’s been affiliated for nearly 3 years is disingenuous.  Fresh (the manufacturer) should not be punished for Food Babe’s hypocrisy.  They correctly listed the ingredients on the web site where she sold the body polish, and they correctly listed them on the packaging:

food babe recommends

Hari says she personally uses this product, and every product that she sells. (Click/enlarge).

ingredients

Product purchased from FoodBabe.com.  The PACKAGING clearly lists BHT. (Click/enlarge).

 

Amazon listing

Ingredients listed on Amazon.com, where Food Babe was selling the Fresh body polish. (Click/enlarge).

If you really want to understand how hypocritical Vani Hari’s denial is, you just need to read a little further.  She says:

“we must be vigilant and read the labels always”

What?  How could this self-styled investigator be selling a product for so many years, claiming to use it on a daily basis, stressing the importance of reading labels–and never once read the label?

Food Babe Claim

Food Babe claims to use the products she sells on a daily basis. (Click/enlarge).

 

Image Credits
Amazon.com, Fresh, and Food Babe screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

Manufacturer Confirms Hari Wrong About Ingredients; BHT Product Purchased from FoodBabe.com

Authors note: after selling the product described here for nearly 3 years, Vani Hari quietly removed it from her web site after this information went public. For the most recent information, please see Food Babe’s BHT Denial Doesn’t Hold Water.

All of her denials aside, a product being sold by Vani Hari (the Food Babe) contains BHT, and she has apparently been associated with a company selling at least a dozen such products since the summer of 2012.  This despite the fact that she’s gone on record  saying BHT should be avoided in all beauty products, due to supposed toxicity.  Because Hari claims to personally use each and every product she sells, it’s troubling that she feigned ignorance of the product contents in a Chicago Business Journal interview yesterday, during which she offered a rebuttal of the article you’re now reading.

In a tweet last week, Hari called my proof of BHT in her product “bull****” and said the ingredients listed on the manufacturer’s web site (no BHT) were correct–despite being confronted with photos of product labels clearly showing the additive.

food babe tweet

Food Babe tweet. Click to enlarge.

I reached out to the manufacturer and received the following response today:

“Dear Mark,

Thank you for contacting us!

“Our apologies that our website incorrectly does not list BHT as an ingredient in Brown Sugar Body Polish.  The packaging picture you attached lists the correct ingredients included in the product.

Fresh uses BHT as an antioxidant to protect the ingredients against the risk of oxidation.  Our toxicologists certify that this use of BHT may be incorporated in our products according to the recommendation of the joint FAO/WHO expert committee on food additives and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review expert panel which confirm that the use of BHT in cosmetics is safe.”

Here is the “packaging picture” referred to in the email (click to enlarge):

ingredients

Email attachment (click to enlarge)

Fresh is correct–according to experts, BHT is safe.  I appreciate the honesty of this company.  What I want to concentrate on here is the hypocrisy of Food Babe.  How is it possible that she has been selling this product for 2.5 years without ever reading the label?

To be absolutely certain of my claims, I placed an order for Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish via the FoodBabe.com shopping page on Friday, February 6.  Food Babe earned an affiliate sales commission from this purchase.

My order confirmation is shown below (click any image to enlarge).

food babe shopping

The Fresh Brown Sugar body polish available on FoodBabe.com on February 6, 2015.  Click image to enlarge.

amazon order details

I placed my order on February 6 via FoodBabe.com’s shopping page, which redirects to Amazon.com.  Click image to enlarge.

 

The order arrived today, February 9.  Let’s open the box:

food babe box

Box received from FoodBabe.com order. Click to enlarge.

ingredients

Snapshot of ingredients. Click to enlarge.

product

The product Food Babe is selling. Click to enlarge.

order confirmation

My order confirmation. Click to enlarge.

As you can see, the item I purchased from FoodBabe.com contains the same additive at the center of Hari’s campaign against General Mills and Kellogg’s.

Food Babe’s web site claimed she used this product personally.  If Vani Hari believed so strongly that this product didn’t contain BHT, why did she delete it from her web site after being confronted?

web site (after)

After photos were published showing that her product did in fact contain BHT, Food Babe quietly deleted the item from her web site.  Compare this image of her shopping page (February 9) to the one above, from which I placed my order (February 6).  Click image to enlarge.

 

Based on simple forensic work on her site, it’s apparent that Hari has been associated with Fresh since July, 2012.  The date of her association can easily be determined by examining the source code of her shopping page, which I saved before she had a chance to delete it:

bht markup

Markup from FoodBabe.com shopping page. Click to enlarge.

Here’s a closer look:

food babe bht snipNote the highlighted sections of the above images.  The year and month that Food Babe uploaded each product image is included as part of the URL (Uniform Resource Locator).  In this case, she uploaded the brown sugar body polish content in July, 2012.  (Similarly, she got started with Josie Maran “Eye Love You” in December 2013, and John Masters’ Shampoo in December, 2011.)

I think the Food Babe Army deserves an explanation as to how their leader could have been using this product for 2.5 years and not seen the BHT on the label.  Here’s what Hari said about the body polish in 2012.  I’m taking this quote directly from the HTML markup of her web page:

“This is quite an amazing scrub. I could use it everyday. Makes my skin baby smooth and the smell is so nice.”–Vani Hari

You have to ask: if she personally uses this product and it’s clearly labeled as containing BHT, how did she miss it?

food babe capture

Screen capture from FoodBabe.com.  “Approved and researched herself.”  Really?

Apparently, everyone else has known about the BHT all along.  Sephora’s question and answer page listed it as far back as 2011–a full year before FoodBabe.com put it on sale.  Amazon.com, the fulfillment source for Food Babe, lists BHT.  The product label lists BHT.

Does Food Babe actually use this product, or has she just been quoting the Fresh.com web site?

Fresh sells over a dozen products containing BHT.  Isn’t it hypocritical for a blogger to criticize companies for selling a product with a certain additive and yet have a commercial affiliation with one that does the same?  In July, 2011, she specifically said BHT in beauty products should be avoided.  In her Chicago Business Journal interview, Hari waffled, saying, in effect, that her BHT wasn’t as dangerous as the General Mills/Kellogg’s BHT.  A clever dodge, as the charge made against her is much more simple: she told her readers not to buy any beauty product with BHT, but sold that very thing for over 2 years and claimed to use it personally.

It’s important to stress yet again that Fresh is not the villain here.  Like Kellogg’s and General Mills, they are selling a product with an additive that is recognized as safe by experts.  On a personal note, my wife and I like Fresh products.  I hope they won’t be punished for this.

What really saddens me is the willingness of some news outlets to promote Ms. Hari as a hero campaigning against giants.  The fact that Food Babe has been “in bed with BHT” since 2012 has been made known to these publications and is now public knowledge.  Thankfully the Chicago Business Journal (and sister publications) did present my BHT charges to her.  Sadly, she sidestepped the issues.

food babe bht product

Product sold by FoodBabe.com.  Click to enlarge.

Edited for Clarity
11 Feb 2015–link to Hari’s statement that BHT in beauty products should be avoided has been emphasized in response to comments she’s only against BHT in food products.  Also added additional screen capture of Hari recommending the product in question.

12 Feb 2015–link to Chicago Business Journal added along with refutation of claims Hari made there.

 

Image Credits
Amazon.com, Fresh, and Food Babe screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

 

References
Why Is Food Babe Selling A Product With BHT?
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/06/why-is-food-babe-selling-a-product-with-bht/

Food Babe Shopping (She deleted the body polish after being confronted–see screen snapshots in article)
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-beauty/

Sephora Questions and Answers: Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish
http://answers.sephora.com/answers/8723/product/P7844/questions.htm

Food Babe on BHT in Beauty Products
http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/31/how-to-find-safe-beauty-products/

 

 

You May Also Be Interested In
Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Blush
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/food-babe-selling-dangerous-items-tarte-blush/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Avalon Organics Repair Milk
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-avalon-organics-repair-milk/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Lights Camera Action Mascara
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-tarte-lights-camera-action-mascara/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Shampoo
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-honeysuckle-shampoo/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Physician’s Formula Organic Wear
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-physicians-formula-organic-wear/

Why Is Food Babe Selling a Product With BHT?

Author’s note: after this article was written, Vani Hari initially (loudly) denied the BHT sales before quietly removing the featured product from her web site.  She sold a BHT-laden product for nearly 3 years, all the while telling her followers she used it daily (and urging them to read labels). A follow-up article detailing the purchase of the product from her web site is available here.  You can read a debunking of her denials here.

 

Why is Vani Hari (the “Food Babe”) harassing Kellogg’s and General Mills because their cereals contain BHT, when she’s earning a sales commission on a product that contains BHT?  She specifically warns her readers to avoid BHT in beauty products!

I’ve been reporting for several months now on the hypocrisy and double standards of Food Babe, who sells a wide range of products that contain the very same ingredients she says are dangerous.  But this one takes the cake.  In a well-timed publicity stunt in preparation for the release of her new book in 4 days’ time, Hari has rallied her “Food Babe Army” against Kellogg’s and General Mills because their cereal contains Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT),1 a preservative considered safe by the FDA.

Well, guess what else contains BHT?  The Fresh Brown Sugar Body Polish sold by Vani Hari on FoodBabe.com.  Here’s a screen snapshot from her web site:2

food babe shopping

Foodbabe.com shopping page featuring the BHT-laden Fresh “Brown Sugar Body Polish”.  Click image to enlarge.

Let’s put on our official Food Babe Investigator HatsTM and go over to Amazon.com and look at the ingredients of this body polish (click image to enlarge):3

brown sugar ingredients

Sugar Bath “Brown Sugar Body Bath” ingredients. Click to enlarge.

We can zoom in for emphasis:

bht zoom

It matters not that you’re putting this on your skin instead of eating it.  Hari specifically says to avoid BHT in all beauty products:4

“Next – do this crucial step to become educated about what is lurking in those beauty products. Check the list below to find out if any of your products contain these dirty dozen chemicals.

1. BHA and BHT. Used mainly in moisturizers and makeup as preservatives.  Suspected endocrine disruptors and may cause cancer (BHA). Harmful to fish and other wildlife.”

Hari did finally get something right–depending on the chemical characteristics of a compound, you’d be right to worry about absorption via the skin–but the fact she’s staging a publicity stunt over BHT without ever checking the ingredients of her own products… well… what was it you said, Vani?

“I shake my head in disbelief.”

Yes, that’s it.

After this article was published on February 6, Vani Hari tweeted the following denial.  She directs followers to the Fresh.com website for product information:

food babe tweet

Food Babe directs followers to Fresh.com for authoritative product information. I purchased this exact product and it does contain BHT.  Click image to enlarge.

 

So on February 7, in the interest of fairness,  I purchased the exact product displayed on Fresh.com, the authoritative source as per Food Babe’s tweet.5  The product is clearly labelled as containing BHT.  Images are below.  Click any photo to enlarge:

box1

Original box.

receipt

My receipt

ingredients

Ingredients. Note the BHT.

product

Contents. Compare to Fresh.com.

upc code

UPC code.

 

The Forgotten Part of This Discussion
Food Babe has attacked Kellogg’s and General Mills because they are companies selling products that contain BHT.  Yet you can’t swing a dead cat in a room full of “Fresh” products without hitting one that contains the additive.  I picked four items at random and hit three: the Soy Face Cleanser,6 Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream,7 and Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask.8  Alert readers have found at least 9, and I’ll be linking them all with screen snapshots in future updates.

Why is it OK for a self-styled activist to attack companies over a supposedly “dangerous” additive while at the same time openly earning sales commissions from a company selling at least ten products that contain that same additive?

It’s important to stress that Fresh.com is not the villain here, and I strongly urge readers to not behave in the manner of the “Food Babe Army”.  Please–no silly petition drives, spamming of an innocent company’s web site or Facebook page, etc.  We’re better than this.  According to the currently available science, Kellogg’s, General Mills, and Fresh are using a safe ingredient in their products.

Finally, I’d like to mention that I left the following message on Food Babe’s web page with a link to this article, hoping for a clarification and giving her a chance to respond:

“May I respectfully ask why you are selling products that contain BHT when you say it is so dangerous?”

My post was deleted within 3 minutes and I was banned from posting on her page.

I don’t believe in censorship, and welcome debate and dialogue on the subject. Thanks for reading.

 

Edited for Clarity:
The initial article used Hari’s statements about putting any “toxic” chemical on your skin to assert that she would not support using a beauty product containing BHT.  It has been updated to include a specific statement from Hari stating that beauty products containing BHT should not be used.4

 

References
(1) “Kellogg’s & General Mills: Drop the BHT From Your Cereal”
http://foodbabe.com/cereal/

(2) Food Babe Shopping Page (“For Your Beauty”)
NOTE:  Ms. Hari deleted the Brown Sugar Polish from this page on the evening of Feb 7, 2015–Please see screen snapshots in article.
http://foodbabe.com/shop/for-your-beauty/

(3) Fresh “Brown Sugar Body Bath” on Amazon.com
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000Z5Y4S4

(4) Be a Drug Store Beauty Dropout
http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/31/how-to-find-safe-beauty-products/

(5) Fresh BHT-Free Link
http://www.fresh.com/US/body-exfoliant/brown-sugar-body-polish/BrownSugarBodyPolish.html#q=brown%2Bsugar&start=1&cgid=null

(6) Soy Face Cleanser
http://www.fresh.com/US/cleansing/soy-face-cleanser/H00001408.html#start=5&cgid=cleanser

(7) Rose Hydrating Eye Gel Cream
http://www.fresh.com/US/rose/rose-hydrating-eye-gel-cream/H00003060.html#start=2&cgid=eyecare

(8) Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask
http://www.fresh.com/US/mask/black-tea-instant-perfecting-mask/H00001466.html#start=2&cgid=mask

(9) The Web Never Forgets: Sources for BHT in Fresh Brown Sugar
https://www.evernote.com/shard/s13/sh/091edc33-38b7-4fca-aba7-f4dde7d8a9b3/17da96036caaabfe

 

Image Credits
Amazon.com, Sugar Bath, and Food Babe screen snapshots are used in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, commonly known as “fair use law”. This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

 

You May Also Be Interested In
Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Blush
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/food-babe-selling-dangerous-items-tarte-blush/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Dandelions
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-dandelions/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Avalon Organics Repair Milk
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/29/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-avalon-organics-repair-milk/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Tarte Lights Camera Action Mascara
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/14/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-tarte-lights-camera-action-mascara/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Shampoo
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2014/12/29/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-honeysuckle-shampoo/

Food Babe Pushing “Dangerous” Items: Physician’s Formula Organic Wear
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/food-babe-pushing-dangerous-items-physicians-formula-organic-wear/

The Food Babe Ban List
https://badscidebunked.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/the-food-babe-ban-list/