Jessica Biel's Ridiculous 'Kinder' 'Farm' Children's Medicine

By Josh Bloom — Sep 05, 2023
The deluge of the use of the term "natural" for product promotion continues unabated. But perhaps it's getting stale because KinderFarms, Jessica Biel's company, is selling stuff like Tylenol and Benadryl with the promise of avoiding "artificial petrochemicals." That ignores the fact that these drugs are all made from just that. Nope, no kindness or farms. Just another misleading ad campaign.
Is Jessica Biel Peddling "Kind" Medicines From A "Farm?" Not Quite. Photo: Wiki…

I just got the following email from KinderFarms, a "natural" kid's medicine company that objects to all the "unnatural" things found in children's OTC medications. Damn, they picked the wrong person to spam with this.

Hi Josh,

It’s hard to believe it’s already almost back to school season! Our client, KinderFarms, is more than prepared with back to school essentials that every family needs this school year! 

KinderFarms, co-founded by Jessica Biel, is committed to transforming the family health products industry by offering clean, organic options that eliminate anything artificial. Here are some great products KinderFarms has to offer for your kids return to school.

Biel isn't the first to try fishy advertising to sell kids' medicines. Back in 2021, I wrote about a seemingly disingenuous ad campaign by a new company named Genexa, whose motto is "the first clean medicine company," whatever that means. 

At the very least Genexa, by choosing this slogan, implied that the acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) in their products was "clean" while the other 250 billion pills that are produced annually by other companies must be "dirty" by comparison.

From the company's website:

"We use the same active ingredients as the name brands on shelf today, which have gone through years of scientific testing to make sure they’re safe for you and the ones you love."

Let me pose a challenge. Locate one person in the solar system who "loves" acetaminophen, a largely ineffective and potentially deadly drug, which I reviewed in 2017 and 2023

And then there's this:

 "Our products are Certified Gluten-Free, Non-GMO Verified, and free of common allergens. It’s what people deserve."

It is indisputable that the most dangerous ingredient in this "clean" acetaminophen is acetaminophen itself, a known liver toxin, which sent more than 78,000 people in the US to emergency departments during the two years from January 2006 through December 2007. The term "If you polish a turd, it's still a turd" comes to mind.

Update: At that time, I gave Genexa the benefit of the doubt. Was it possible that its founders were really concerned (although misguided) about "dirty Tylenol" and were making an honest effort to improve children's medicine? That benefit of the doubt is now rescinded. Here's why (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Genexa's homeopathic Arnica "pain relief" product is a bunch of clean nothing. The company is selling sugar-coated witchcraft. I wrote an article in early 2023 explaining these mysterious terms like 6X and 30X. To varying degrees, these mean that there are essentially none of the ingredients (which are worthless in their own right) in the pill.

Arnica is a "homeopathic medicine;" it's not a medicine at all. Rather it's a bottle of sweet nothings that cannot possibly be useful for anything except Genexa's bottom line. Sorry guys, your credibility is shot. But take heart. Homeopathic "remedies," whether water or sugar, could be quite clean...

...but not kind: Biel's KinderFarms® gets in on the action

Apparently not content to be left out of the anthropomorphism of OTC drugs, in 2022, the actress Jessica Biel and her business partner Jeremy Adams began selling a line of "benevolent" children's medication called KinderFarms®, as if the drugs had the capacity for kindness or were somehow grown on a farm. The company's website tells its story. Here is part of it.

As they peeled back the labels of the common children's over-the-counter medicines, they were surprised to find artificial ingredients, petrochemicals, and fillers they didn't feel comfortable giving their children, especially when they were sick.

Which begs a few questions...

  1. Why would these "artificial petrochemicals" be given to children when they were healthy?
  2. Is "didn't feel comfortable" a scientifically rigorous assessment of the risks and benefits of a drug, especially to Biel, who in 2019 lobbied with RFK Jr. on vaccine policy? (1)
  3. Is there really anything natural about these medicines?

No unicorns, just a chemical named para-acetamidophenol, aka acetaminophen

No, not even close

The "farm" that the company's name suggests doesn't much look like a place where zucchinis are growing all over the place. Or an idyllic setting filled with cute little lambs.

Image: Wallpaper flair


No, it looks like Figure 2. This is how "kinder," "natural," 'petrochemical-free"  acetaminophen (Tylenol) is actually made.

Figure 2. (Left) Oil distillation towers are loaded with crude oil (from the ground) and gradually heated to separate their components into different fractions, which are defined by the boiling point at which they distill. Photo: Wallpaper flare. (Center) A depiction of a distillation tower shows the products of fractional distillation of crude oil and the temperature range at which they distill. Phenol distills between 170-230oC (similar to kerosene) and is collected, further purified, and transported to some chemical plant (Right) where acetaminophen is manufactured by the synthetic scheme in Figure 3. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons

Figure 3. The industrial manufacturing of acetaminophen. (It is not kind.) Following fractional distillation (Figure 2), phenol (a carcinogen) is reacted with nitric acid (A) to give a mixture of ortho- and para-nitrophenol. The two are separated. The para-nitrophenol is reduced using hydrogen with a nickel catalyst (B), which converts it into para-aminophenol (another carcinogen). The final step is a simple acylation using acetic anhydride. 

Is there anything "natural" about any of this? The answer is technically yes, provided that you acknowledge that petroleum-based chemicals themselves are natural since petroleum itself is natural. Which is not such a bad assumption, since crude oil is the product of plant and animal life sitting in the ground for millions of years. But I doubt this nuance is built into Genexa or KinderFarms ads. (2)

Is chemical kindness possible?

Chemicals themselves cannot be kind, unkind, or experience any emotion whatsoever. But kindness is possible among the workers who work at the chemical plants. Perhaps this is the basis for the name of the company.

Two chemical plant workers, both named Joe, display exceptional kindness to each other. Photo credit: PEO ACWA on Flickr.



(1) RFKs Instagram post of the collaboration: "Please say thank you to the courageous @jessicabiel for a busy and productive day at the California State House." Uh-huh.

(2) KinderFarms also sells Benadryl. (Here is a YouTube video (for masochists only) showing its synthesis.) Although it is only 3:44 in length, it is unlikely you'll make it through. Good luck understanding a single word of it. Other products the company sells are KinderMed™ Kids’ Cough & Congestion (guaifenesin and dextromethorphan, both synthetic), KinderMed™ Kids’ Nighttime Cold & Cough (Benadryl and phenylephrine, both synthetic). I could go on...




Josh Bloom

Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science

Dr. Josh Bloom, the Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, comes from the world of drug discovery, where he did research for more than 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry.

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