Farm Fairy Crafts Selling Products With Caffeic Acid, a Group 2B carcinogen

Farm Fairy Crafts ad hom

An ad hom attack:  When you can’t debate the science, attack the messenger. (click/enlarge)

Farm Fairy Crafts, a crunchy momma organic product manufacturer, recently launched a barrage of Twitter ad homs after I pointed out the glaring truth that Vani Hari (aka “the Food Babe”) is selling a known pesticide and “coal tar dyes” to children.

Birds of a feather do seem to flock together.  It appears that Farm Fairy Crafts believes it’s OK for a vendor to sell something dangerous, as long as…

… well, honestly, I’m not sure exactly what their reasoning is.  They refused to explain it. When pressed for an explanation, they abandoned the conversation and blocked me.  But, to illustrate how far hypocrisy goes in the $39 billion organic product market, let’s put Farm Fairy Crafts under the same virtual microscope we used to analyze Vani Hari’s Pesticide for Children product.

Here’s a Farm Fairy Crafts tweet on glyphosate, recently (poorly) linked to cancer by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).1


I’m sure that since Farm Fairy Crafts uses the IARC as a source, they wouldn’t object to having the same standards applied to one of their own products.  How about this beautifully presented organic lavender cream?

Farm Fairy Crafts Organic Lavender

Farm Fairy Crafts Organic Lavender

According to the company’s own web site, here are the ingredients in “Farm Fairy Crafts Solar Infused Organically Grown Lavender”:2

Farm Fairy Cracfts Solar Infused

Far, Fairy Crafts Farms product contains two products known to contain caffeic acid, an IARC Group 2B carcinogen4

Mon Dieu!  Rosemary and Grapefruit!  Hold that thought…

I’ve found an online tool known as the “Phenol Explorer” to be an excellent starting point in investigating food content.  I Iike this tool because it provides full PubMed citations for the claims it makes.  In this case, I’m curious about an IARC Group 2B carcinogen known as caffeic acid.4

Where might we find caffeic acid, a Group 2B carcinogen?  Why, it’s in Farm Fairy Crafts’ Lavender product, in the form of Rosemary and Grapefruit:


Mean concentration of caffeic acid in rosemary, an ingredient in Farm Fairy Crafts products. Please see the linked Phenol Explorer article for details.3


caffeic acid in grapefruit

Mean concentration of caffeic acid in grapefruit, an ingredient in Farm Fairy Crafts products.  Please see the linked Phenol Explorer article for details.3

You can find no less than seven studies linked, via PubMed, that analyze the caffeic acid content of the grapefruit and Rosemary found in Farm Fairy Craft’s “natural” cream.

Now, given that the IARC has placed both the hated (by Farm Fairy) glyphosate and beloved (by aforementioned Fairy Farm) “natural” ingredients onto a list linking them to cancer, can we expect a retraction or explanation from the good folks at Farm Fairy Crafts?  I sincerely doubt it.  As with all peddlers of pseudoscience, once they’re backed into a corner with evidence, the response is typical:

typical response from pseudoscientist

When you point out facts to a pseudoscientist, this is the predictable result. (click/enlarge)

Image Credits
All Twitter and Product screen snapshots are used in strict compliance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 of United States copyright law (commonly known as “fair use law”). This material is distributed without profit with the intent to provide commentary, review, education, parody, and increase public health knowledge.

(1) Farm Fairy Crafts Tweet on Carcinogens

(2) Farm Fairy Crafts Solar Infused Organically Grown Lavender

(3) Phenol Explorer: Caffeic Acid content in foods

(4) Agents Classified by the IARC Monographs, Volumes 1–112


11 thoughts on “Farm Fairy Crafts Selling Products With Caffeic Acid, a Group 2B carcinogen

  1. I watched the conversation– you clearly took her tweets completely out of context to pervert her message that fits your ignorant nefarious agenda.

    There is no scientific evidence that links caffeic acid to adverse effects. As a matter of fact, caffeic acid whose levels were found to be lower in GMO corn (NK603) than its isogenic counterpart, offer many protective health attributes.
    “The modified EPSPS is not inhibited by glyphosate by contrast to the wild enzyme. This
    enzyme is known to drive the first step of aromatic amino acid biosynthesis in the plant shikimate pathway; in addition estrogenic isoflavones and their glycosides are also products of this pathway
    (Duke et al., 2003). They were not disturbed in our study. By contrast, the levels of caffeic and ferulic acids in the GM diets, which are also secondary metabolites from this pathway, but not always measured in regulatory tests, are significantly reduced. This may lower their protective effects against carcinogenesis and even mammalian tumors
    (Kuenzig et al., 1984; Baskaran et al., 2010).
    Moreover, these phenolic acids and in particular ferulic acid may modulate estrogen receptors or the estrogenic pathway in mammalian cells (Chang et al., 2006). This does not exclude the action of other unknown metabolites. This explanation also corresponds to the fact that the observed effects of NK603 and R are not additive and reached a threshold. This implies that both the NK603 maize and R may cause hormonal disturbances in the same biochemical and physiological pathway”

    Antiproliferative and apoptotic effects of selective phenolic acids on T47D human breast cancer cells: potential mechanisms of action
    Marilena Kampa,1 Vassilia-Ismini Alexaki,1 George Notas,2 Artemissia-Phoebe Nifli,1 Anastassia Nistikaki,1Anastassia Hatzoglou,1 Efstathia Bakogeorgou,1 Elena Kouimtzoglou,3 George Blekas,4 Dimitrios Boskou,4 Achille Gravanis,3 and Elias Castanas1
    Author information ► Article notes ► Copyright and License information ►
    This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
    Go to:
    The oncoprotective role of food-derived polyphenol antioxidants has been described but the implicated mechanisms are not yet clear. In addition to polyphenols, phenolic acids, found at high concentrations in a number of plants, possess antioxidant action. The main phenolic acids found in foods are derivatives of 4-hydroxybenzoic acid and 4-hydroxycinnamic acid.
    1.     Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
    Chemopreventive potential of ferulic acid in 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene-induced mammary carcinogenesis in Sprague–Dawley rats
    ·         Nagarethinam Baskaran, 
    ·         Shanmugam Manoharan, , 
    ·         Subramanian Balakrishnan, 
    ·         Pachaiappan Pugalendhi
    ·         Department of Biochemistry & Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar – 608 002, Tamil Nadu, India
    ·, How to Cite or Link Using DOI
    ·         Permissions & Reprints
    2.  Lipophilic caffeic and ferulic acid derivatives presenting cytotoxicity against human breast cancer cells.
    Serafim TL, Carvalho FS, Marques MP, Calheiros R, Silva T, Garrido J, Milhazes N, Borges F, Roleira F, Silva ET, Holy J, Oliveira PJ.
    CNC, Centre for Neuroscience and Cellular Biology, University of Coimbra, Portugal.
    In the present work, lipophilic caffeic and ferulic acid derivatives were synthesized, and their cytotoxicity on cultured breast cancer cells was compared. A total of six compounds were initially evaluated: caffeic acid (CA), hexyl caffeate (HC), caffeoylhexylamide (HCA), ferulic acid (FA), hexyl ferulate (HF), and feruloylhexylamide (HFA). Cell proliferation, cell cycle progression, and apoptotic signaling were investigated in three human breast cancer cell lines, including estrogen-sensitive (MCF-7) and insensitive (MDA-MB-231 and HS578T). Furthermore, direct mitochondrial effects of parent and modified compounds were investigated by using isolated liver mitochondria. The results indicated that although the parent compounds presented no cytotoxicity, the new compounds inhibited cell proliferation and induced cell cycle alterations and cell death, with a predominant effect on MCF-7 cells. Interestingly, cell cycle data indicates that effects on nontumor BJ fibroblasts were predominantly cytostatic and not cytotoxic. The parent compounds and derivatives also promoted direct alterations on hepatic mitochondrial bioenergetics, although the most unexpected and never before reported one was that FA induces the mitochondrial permeability transition. The results show that the new caffeic and ferulic acid lipophilic derivatives show increased cytotoxicity toward human breast cancer cell lines, although the magnitude and type of effects appear to be dependent on the cell type. Mitochondrial data had no direct correspondence with effects on intact cells suggesting that this organelle may not be a critical component of the cellular effects observed. The data provide a rational approach to the design of effective cytotoxic lipophilic hydroxycinnamic derivatives that in the future could be profitably applied for chemopreventive and/or chemotherapeutic purposes.

    3.  Impact of alkyl esters of caffeic and ferulic acids on tumor cell proliferation, cyclooxygenase enzyme, and lipid peroxidation.
    Jayaprakasam B, Vanisree M, Zhang Y, Dewitt DL, Nair MG.
    J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Jul 26;54(15):5375-81.
    Bioactive Natural Products and Phytoceuticals, Department of Horticulture and National Food Safety and Toxicology Center, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824, USA.
    The antioxidant ferulic and caffeic acid phenolics are ubiquitous in plants and abundant in fruits and vegetables. We have synthesized a series of ferulic and caffeic acid esters and tested for tumor cell proliferation, cyclooxygenase enzymes (COX-1 and -2) and lipid peroxidation inhibitory activities in vitro. In the tumor cell proliferation assay, some of these esters showed excellent growth inhibition of colon cancer cells. Among the phenolics esters assayed, compounds 10 (C12-caffeate), 11 (C16-caffeate), 21 (C8-ferulate), and 23 (C12-ferulate) showed strong growth inhibition with IC50 values of 16.55, 13.46, 18.67, and 7.57 microg/mL in a breast cancer cell line; 9.65, 7.45, 17.05, and 4.35 microg/ mL in a lung cancer cell line; 5.78, 3.5, 4.29, and 2.46 microg/mL in a colon cancer cell line; 12.04, 12.21, 14.63, and 8.09 microg/ mL in a central nervous system cancer cell line; and 8.62, 7.76, 11.0, and 5.37 in a gastric cancer cell line. In COX enzyme inhibitory assays, ferulic and caffeic acid esters significantly inhibited both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Caffeates 5-10 (C4-C12), inhibited COX-1 enzyme between 50% and 90% and COX-2 enzyme by about 70%, whereas ferulates 15-21 (C3-C8) inhibited COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes by 85-95% 25 microg/mL. Long-chain caffeates 11-14 (C16-C22) and short-chain ferulates 15-20 (C3-C5) were the most active in lipid peroxidation inhibition and showed 60-70% activity at 5 microg/mL concentration
     Carcinogenesis. 2012 Feb;33(2):394-8. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgr283. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

    You are a crank and science- illiterate to boot. People like you dispensing medical advice are dangerous!!!


    • Yes Ena, caffeic acid is an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, so there’s plenty of evidence. You do need to be able to read and understand, of course! But the main point is that the woo peddlers you defend decry items on the IARC monographs while including such members themselves. Suggestion: deep breath. Read. Slowly.

      Your ad-hom attacks are as hilarious (and wear as thin here) as they do when you were tweeting me at home at 3:00am claiming to be a medical doctor, when, in fact, you are not.

      When you’ve had a chance to study the compound being talked about here, in context, please feel free to come back and talk.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t know who this guy is but I use this lotion and it’s awesome. Not falling for the fear mongering. You are however going to increase that shop’s popularity by blogging about them.


  3. Hey dummy. Post your medical lucense like the State of Cali gave me…or stop calling me Ena. I am not a friend of stupid people. Class 2B is a catch all group where science has not been settled …unlike Class 2A where glyphosate lives…a carcinogen. A vs B makes a huge difference in IARC classification But there is much more scientific evidence for beneficial effects of caffeic acid than adverse effects. And you, lacking any medical credibility are in no position to give medical advice, nor to call me Ena. Your opinions in the absence of accountability afforded by licensure is in fact irrelevant.


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