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The Food Babe’s travel advice? Risk Malaria and Yellow Fever

Many people have now read the post on Gawker, The Food Babe is Full of Shit.

Ms. Hari (the self-styled Food Babe) was of course offended both at the profanity and the take down. Honestly, I don’t even consider shit a profanity, and well, A LOT of what she says is so scientifically ridiculous and/or misinformed it is hard not to call it a load of crap.

But manners/writing style aside I think we should focus on the substance of Ms. Hari’s defense of her “body of work.” Since there is so much to wade through let’s just focus on one thing addressed by Gawker that Ms. Hari took umbrage too – her misinformation about air travel and “insecticide.”

According to Food Babe:

“The air you are breathing on an airplane is recycled from directly outside of your window. That means you are breathing everything that the airplanes gives off and is flying through. The air that is pumped in isn’t pure oxygen either, it’s mixed with nitrogen, sometimes almost at 50%. To pump a greater amount of oxygen in costs money in terms of fuel and the airlines know this! The nitrogen may affect the times and dosages of medications, make you feel bloated and cause your ankles and joints swell.

Did you know certain countries require that airplanes and even passengers be sprayed with pesticide before they take off? This means if you are visiting one of these countries you are breathing in these fumes potentially all flight, especially if they were sprayed on board. Horrific!”

FYI the post was deleted by Hari, but there is a link below (yeah FreezePage)

This is from Gawker about that now deleted post:

If you want proof that Hari doesn’t research anything before she puts it online, look no further than this article on airplanes, which she deleted from her site. She claimed that pilots control the air in an airplane, so you should sit near the front to breathe better air. She wrote that passengers are sometimes sprayed with pesticides before flights, and that airplane air is pumped full of nitrogen.

Please recall high school science, in which you hopefully learned that the atmosphere is 78% nitrogen. Also, if anyone has personally been sprayed with pesticides before a flight, please email me, I would love to talk to you about it (not really).

This is The Food Babe’s defense of her “airplane insecticide” on twitter:

But if Food Babe had READ the link she would understand that A) passengers don’t get sprayed and B) this is a required procedure when planes leave certain countries to prevent the spread of malaria and yellow fever from mosquitoes hitching a ride on the plane because, according to the WHO, “there have been a number of cases of malaria affecting individuals who live or work in the vicinity of airports in countries where malaria is not present, thought to be due to the escape of malaria-carrying mosquitoes transported on aircraft.” Some countries also do it to prevent “inadvertent introduction of species that may harm their agriculture.”

Honestly, if you are going to defend yourself you have to do better than that.

If you don’t want malaria or yellow fever then you have to use chemicals because wrapping an aircraft in mosquito netting or coating everyone in oil of lemon eucalyptus just isn’t possible and of course there’s that little thing called efficacy.

Why on earth would anyone even remotely suggest that disinfecting a plane to protect the crew, passengers, and local agriculture is bad practice? The only answer can be that they didn’t bother to avail themselves of the information, didn’t understand the information, or just didn’t care. And that pretty much sums up what I think about the Food Babe.

Telling people they shouldn’t eat junk food and should know what they are eating is a good mission, but building an “army” to do battle based on misinformation and lies makes Ms. Hari a public health menace and proves that she can only get attention when making sensationalist and frequently false claims.

And the “airplane insecticide” scoop of hers, well, it’s just one on the long list of things she gets woefully wrong.

Discussion

6 thoughts on “The Food Babe’s travel advice? Risk Malaria and Yellow Fever

  1. One can only hope that we have reached a moment of critical mass and that this is the beginning of the end for Fraudbabe

    Posted by Mark B | April 9, 2015, 2:47 pm
  2. I really hope that there continue to be take downs of Hari and her tactics. People who take advantage of science illiteracy are frauds and she is in that category.

    Posted by Michelle | April 9, 2015, 6:24 pm
  3. I love all these blogs discussing the Food Babe’s rubbish! The asinine things she comes out with are beyond belief.

    Posted by Riddle Me This | April 10, 2015, 3:20 am
  4. I’ve been on a plane that was sprayed with insecticide more than once. Frankly, it did freak me out to be sitting there and have the flight attendants walk through the plane with cans of insecticide that they are spraying towards you as they walk along. The first time this happened to me was on a flight between Johannesburg, South Africa and Lusaka, Zambia. Both countries have malaria mosquitos and tse tse flies already, so I’m not sure of the point of the insecticide spraying. The second time was on a flight from Guayaquil, Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands. I understood at that time why there was spraying being done, but it still made me feel uncomfortable to we sitting and breathing in that air as the sprayed.

    In general, Food Babe is playing on people’s emotions and lack of critical thinking. I try to ignore it when friends post her stuff.

    Posted by Linda | April 10, 2015, 5:04 pm
  5. I was a fan because I agreed with her attitude toward food and the way food companies operate. But when it comes to being an anti-vaxxer and spewing garbage like this, I am so done. Sorry Ms. Hari, I’m no longer a member of “The Food Babe” army.

    Posted by Uraniabce | April 15, 2015, 1:54 am
  6. I have been on a flight where the cabin was sprayed before landing, this was going to Australia in 1986. However I have been to Australia a few times much more recently and they no longer do that.

    I never read the Food Babe before and after seeing her inane comments on the oxygen and nitrogen content I think it will stay that way!

    Posted by Paula | April 15, 2015, 10:50 am

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