Dispatch: Have You Had Your Gupta Today?

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Yesterday, ACSH reported on the recent accusations against McDonald’s by China’s Scientific Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), which alleges that the fast-food giant uses harmful additives in their Chicken McNuggets. ACSH staffers knew the claims were baseless, yet we were still curious as to who was responsible for spurring the Chinese health agency into initiating this investigation.

ACSH's Dr. Gilbert Ross — physician, ACSH medical director and self-proclaimed gumshoe — was able to trace the rumors back to none other than Dr. Sanjay Gupta, our “favorite” CNN health advisor. In a June 25 article, Dr. Gupta charged that the additives McDonald’s uses in the U.K. and China — tertiary butylhydroquinone and dimethylpolysiloxane — are harmful, even though they are U.S. FDA-approved and pose no human health risk. Given his recent attempt at an exposé of “Toxic America,” I guess we shouldn’t have been surprised.

Marion Nestle, a New York University nutritionist and author of What to Eat, receives a seat alongside Dr. Gupta under the ACSH table for her recommendation that people avoid eating any food with ingredients they can’t pronounce. “This is a completely misinformed position. Can Dr. Nestle pronounce every chemical component found in a sweet potato?” asks ACSH’s Jeff Stier. “I would accuse her of scientific illiteracy.”

“Instead of investigating McDonald’s, the SFDA should investigate Dr. Gupta for his outrageous scares,” blasts ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. “This is health advice coming from the same individual who said we should take our shoes off before entering the house in order to leave chemicals outside and avoid cancer. Dr. Gupta’s news on science and health has attained the same degree of credibility as the National Enquirer.”