Food blogger incites Chick-fil-A to improve ingredients

Photo credit: Chris Potter of

‘Happy to see some new improvements to the ingredients in Chick-fil-A’s menu? Thank a journalist.

This week, Chick-fil-A confirmed a line of changes in its foods– all involving the removal of controversial ingredients:

  • removal of synthetic yellow food coloring from its chicken soup
  • removal of high fructose corn syrup from dressings and sauces (in testing at 200 locations right now)
  • removal of TBHQ from its frying oil (starting next year)
  • removal of artificial ingredients from buns

These changes may be due in part to food blogger, Vani Hari, better known as the “Food Babe,” who published a post entitled “Chick-fil-A or Chemical-Fil-A?” In the post she criticized Chick-fil-A for using several potentially harmful ingredients, mainly tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ).

According to the Fooducate blog, TBHQ is an antioxidant used to keep oils from going rancid. It is a petroleum derivative. The food industry nagged the FDA for years to get it approved as a preservative. This, despite the fact that in large doses (1 gram) it may cause nausea, delirium, and ringing of the ears. TBHQ may not exceed 0.02% of the oil and fat content in a food.

Hari’s article on the dangers of consuming Chick-fil-A led to a series of meetings with the food company’s heads about improving the quality of their products. The result was a small step towards providing better quality fast food.

I use the words “blogger” and “journalist” interchangeably when writing about Hari, because while she considers herself an activist using her food blog as a platform to expose the dangers of unnatural ingredients, she has been successful in not only informing the masses but invoking change.

Vani Hari, the “Food Babe,” with President Barrack Obama. Hari’s food blog,, was created in April 2011. Vani’s activism brought national attention at the Democratic National Convention when she used her status as an elected delegate to protest in front of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture on the issue of GMO labeling. Photo courtesy of