Food blogger Vani Hari is known as an eager critic of how food is produced and consumed who tends to draw strong followers – and detractors. Mike Rothschild, who writes about scams and conspiracy theories, calls Hari’s blog “full of hyperbole, lies, scare tactics, weasel words, and poorly done research.”
Cotton Incorporated would tend to agree after Hari’s recent hit piece on cottonseed oil. Hari claims cottonseed oil “isn’t suitable for human consumption” and claims cotton seeds are “subjected to intensive chemical refining with toxic hexane, bleach, and deodorizers” to extract the oil.
“Cottonseed oil does not belong in our food supply and should be strictly avoided,” Hari concludes, proposing a ban on restaurants and brands that use cottonseed oil as a food ingredient, including Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Jimmy Dean, Sara Lee and Betty Crocker.
Cotton Incorporated posted a lengthy rebuttal on its Facebook page. Highlights include:
- Cottonseed oil is regulated as a food crop by the FDA and is subject to the same governmental oversight as any food.
- Cottonseed oil is considered “heart healthy” when used in moderation, according to the American Heart Association.
- Cottonseed has become popular in many food products because of its high smoke point and neutral flavor.
- Dairy cows have safely consumed cottonseed oil for decades for higher volumes of richer milk.
Cotton Incorporated also struck down several other falsehoods Hari was perpetuating about the cotton industry, including the myth that pesticides are persistent in cotton apparel, or that cotton is an excessive water hog, or that it is the “world’s dirtiest crop.”
The Facebook post drew a strong reaction, garnering 273 likes and 229 shares (and counting). Read it in its entirety here.