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Food Babe & Moms Across America: Stop Drinking Starbucks, Nobody Else Cares

To begin her futile vendetta, Food Babe (Vani Hari) went after Starbucks for its Pumpkin Spice Latte. According to her in-depth investigation, these lattes not only contain “no real pumpkin,” and a “toxic dose of sugar,” but also use dairy from “Monsanto milk cows fed GMO” fodder.

This is so absurd it’s laughable. Twitter users had a blast jokingly lambasting products with similarly misleading names a la, “no kids in sour patch kids,” “no fruit in Fruity Pebbles,” and “no beans in jelly beans.” Furthermore, any customer buying a decadent Starbucks latte without the faintest notion that it’s high in sugar has more serious problems than the sugar itself.

Although Food Babe implored Starbucks to change their ingredients, the company didn’t bite. In fact, Starbucks practically ignored Ms. Hari’s query about the timeline for phasing out caramel coloring. At least they were tactful and kind enough to respond as follows:

“We actually don’t have anything else to share at this time, but thanks for checking!” 

These protest signs made my week
These protest signs made my week


Although caramel coloring is considered safe, this hasn’t stopped the tenacious Food Babe.

Next in her arsenal is the “Monsanto milk” in Starbucks’ beverages. On October 5th, Food Babe’s “army” along with Moms Across America and other anti-GMO activists will be calling on Starbucks to exclusively serve organic milk. According to GMO Inside, “Since March 2014, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has received over 120,000 petitions asking for organic milk. Despite the overwhelming feedback, Starbucks has remained completely silent. It’s time to turn the campaign volume up a notch.”

This is because the entire movement against Starbucks serving conventional milk is pointless at best. Readers –  I have no qualms in saying organic milk is no safer or more nutritious than its conventional counterparts. So why are groups like Moms Across America and Food Babe making a mountain out of this molehill?


Here are the main reasons:


When it comes to Food Babe in particular, it’s because she’s an attention-seeker with a financial incentive. These ploys get her devotees riled up, in turn leading to a larger following. This larger following will convert to extra clicks on her sponsor links, increasing her sponsor income.

I’ve said it once, and many times more, and don’t mind sounding like a broken record. Genetic Modification is a toolbox and not a product. GM food is unequivocally safe. GM technology is necessary to nourish the world’s growing population in a sustainable manner.

Publicity-seeking schemes like this anti-Starbucks crusade are not only pointless but misleading and must be combated by scientifically-savvy media and public. Furthermore, these ploys would best be ignored by corporations like Starbucks.

Here’s my call to action:

Food Babe, Moms Across America, and other anti-GMO proponents: If you want organic milk, don’t drink Starbucks. It’s as simple as that. Starbucks has millions of customers who either know better or at minimum don’t care whether the milk is organic. I promise, those who buy into the fallacy that organic is better won’t make a significant dent in this company’s revenue.

If you’re pro-genetic engineering, consider signing this petition entitled, “Starbucks, please ignore the organic extremists. We love your coffee and don’t want the price to go up because you bowed to a small number of self-centered people.”

I couldn’t have titled it better myself.

In addition to Starbucks price points, here is another reason to sign the petition:  If companies like Starbucks bow to unwarranted pressure, it will cause and propagate harmful stigma against advanced agricultural and biological technologies. Furthermore, it helps perpetuate the fallacy that organic methods are superior, whereas in fact organic farming cannot sustain the earth’s growing population on its own.

Disclaimer: I don’t usually spend my money on Starbucks coffee mainly because I’d rather brew at home and spend the savings on nail polish, wine, clothes and books for my kids, and mortgage payments. Nevertheless, I signed the petition to show my solidarity against pseudo-science pushing groups.

Image credit:  Millions for Monsanto
Image credit: Millions for Monsanto


Featured image credit



Kavin Senapathy

Kavin Senapathy is a mom of two, co-Executive Director of March Against Myths, public speaker, Forbes contributor and author in Madison, WI. She is also co-author of "The Fear Babe: Shattering Vani Hari's Glass House". Follow her on Facebook and twitter @ksenapathy

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  1. Caramel coloring? Jesus. What next?

    My kid came home from high school last week worried about the GMO thing. Some kid in her AP biology class went off on it, and the teacher (IMO) did not sufficiently blast the child down to the bedrock. I had to do some corrective blasting to talk my kid off the ledge.

    1. That’s the problem…the GMO fear is so wide-spread that even AP bio teachers don’t refute it assertively. I wish agricultural and human genomics/biotech applications were offered as a high school level course, or at least as a unit in AP level bio classes….

      Also, maybe a science and skepticism class would be good, too 😉 Glad you talked her off the ledge! I ordered my daughter a “Frank N. Foode” t-shirt that I’m planning to send her to school in. Or at least maybe take her to the Farmers’ Market in it….

  2. I was so happy that someone finally didn’t cave in this quackmail campaign. I don’t even go to Starbucks much, but I will seek out at least one pumpkin spice latte this season just to irritate local #FBAs.

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