The Fight Against Food Misinformation
May 12, 2016
Kavin Senapathy: Correcting Food Misinformation and Alarmism
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Deputy Editor
Kavin Senapathy, science communicator/advocate and contributor to Forbes Magazine, among others, is tightly focused on her goal to debunk miscommunication about human health, as well as genomic, food, and genetic engineering. Senapathy stated, "There is this culture of alarmism," about food safety and food misinformation versus the science-based reality of our food safety management. "The alarmism and fear is so amplified, people don’t realize how very safe we are right now."
Senapathy gets her facts from the source, “I speak to as many scientists as possible, and I know how to read and dissect a scientific paper. I know there is a very important difference between cherry picking from one study to support a bias, and looking at the weight of scientific evidence," she said.
“I also talk to farmers and I’m learning more about the hands-on practices,” Senapathy said. "California farmers produce a wide variety of fruits and vegetables," she said, "and we all should be eating more of them."
“I think a lot of the fear and misinformation take away from the message of eating the right things," continued Senapathy. "Thinking, 'I should avoid MSG, I should avoid GMOs or xyz additive,' really detracts from the most important message—that we should be eating less unhealthy things like sodium and saturated fat, and not too many calories,” noted Senapathy. "We should be eating lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains."
And though she lives in Wisconsin, Senapathy says she is amazed by how many fruits and vegetables are available, even in the wintertime. “I can go to the grocery store in February and come home with grapes, strawberries, bananas, and all kinds of fruits and vegetables,” Senapathy said. “You know, we should marvel at the bounty of this more often.”
She’s quick to thank farmers for feeding her family and those of everyone, everywhere. “We forget—with all the fear and misinformation in social media—that our food supply is more abundant and safer than it has ever been,” she noted. "We should all be appreciative and thankful for that."