The Conversation

Junk Science Babe Goes After Beer

Time and time again the Left falsely claims we're the ones who are "anti-science."  So, whenever I see a story about junk science, particularly, one pushed by the media I have to address it for its sheer stupidity. Unfortunately, the BuzzFeed-ification of science reporting is all too common.  

If you're familiar with Jenny McCarthy's war on vaccines, you may have also heard of the latest media darling, "The Food Babe."  She's described as:

She’s photogenic and also has a talent and penchant for making her utter ignorance of chemistry and science work for her as a powerful P.R. tool that has catapulted her from an obscure food blogger to a guest on television shows such as The Doctors and that repository of all medical crankery and quackery, The Dr. Oz Show, where The Great and Powerful Oz himself praised her activities as part of the “Oz effect.” 

She uses her online following to gather signatures for petitions and other nanny-state causes that aren't rooted in science.  Companies are so afraid of the potential for bad media that they cave despite there being no evidence of harm to consumers.

Her latest target?  Beer.

Last week, The Food Babe turned her ever-scientifically-ignorant sights on one of my favorite beverages of all, beer. As befits her growing skill at using PR combined with rants against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and scary sounding chemicals (i.e., all of them), she targeted large breweries like MillerCoors and Anheuser-Busch, charging that they had all sorts of nefariously toxic “chemicals” and GMO-derived products in their beers and challenging them to publish their complete ingredient list. As typically happens when The Food Babe takes aim at a corporation, these beer behemoths hemmed and hawed for a couple of days as they figured out a response—and that response was, ultimately, to cave just like Subway:

Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors, two of the world’s biggest beer makers, are posting online what’s inside bottles of Budweiser and Miller Lite after pressure from a food blogger.

The two companies on Thursday posted the ingredients of some of their most popular brands, and promised to be more transparent in the future. The announcements come a day after blogger Vani Hari posted a petition on FoodBabe.com to get major brewers to list what’s in their beverages.

Anheuser-Busch posted the ingredients for its two top-selling brands on its website, tapintoyourbeer.com. It lists the same ingredients for Budweiser and Bud Light: Water, barley malt, rice, yeast and hops. The company, which also makes Beck’s, Busch and Michelob beers, said it will list the ingredients for all of its other brands online “in the coming days.” It’s the first time Anheuser-Busch has detailed the ingredients of its beers.

Here’s the problem. All you have to do to see that this won’t satisfy Hari is to go back to her original charges and petitions. Of course the main ingredients of beer are water, barley malt, rice, yeast, and hops! That’s how beer is made. The original petition paints the issue as a comparison of Coca Cola and Windex having to reveal their ingredients but beer not having to do so. Then there’s a video featuring Hari starting out gushing about how her husband “loves beer” and that’s why she wanted so badly to find out what’s “really” in beer. There’s then a list that scrolls down the screen to her right of—you guessed it!—a whole lot of chemicals with scary-sounding names plus—of course!—the dreaded GMOs[.]

The Junk Science Babe simply deems things she can't pronounce as nefarious and harmful.  She relies on a similarly uninformed public and media.  A good example:

A great example is formaldehyde. There are, indeed, trace amounts of formaldehyde in vaccines from the manufacturing process, in which formaldehyde is used to kill the viruses used and/or to denature the proteins from the viruses. However, formaldehyde is a normal product of metabolism, and the amount of formaldehyde in vaccines is minor compared to the amount in the body and the amount to which we’re exposed every day.

And that’s part of what you need to know before you read the Food Babe “expose” that started this whole thing. It’s nearly a year old and called “The Shocking Ingredients In Beer“. This rather lengthy article is a rather long example of just that, the toxins gambit. Her entire list consists of various ingredients with no context given other than the scariest—deceptively so—spin. No concentrations are provided, ignoring the principle of dose-response and the dose making the poison. She lists propylene glycol, of course, as being in “antifreeze.” Of course, propylene glycol is also in vaccines, and, ironically enough, it’s the carrier used in most e-cigarettes. In any case, as has been pointed out to me multiple times, propylene glycol is an ingredient that has been generally recognized as safe (GRAS). 

We now have companies being bullied into making decisions based on people's emotions and calling it "science."  If something seems icky or gross, it must be banned.  This is "science" taught by five year-olds.



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