EXPOSED: University of Auckland pimps junk science

It’s never a good look when a university gets exposed for releasing junk science.

Usually it’s Otago University’s Department of Arse Clowns pimping out wild claims in an effort to generate media coverage.

But with competition for funding troughing red-hot among New Zealand university institutions, it now seems certain University of Auckland researchers are tapping into the pit of junk science to get some headlines.

Back in July, the University of Auckland released a study with the alarming headline ‘Majority of our packaged food unhealthy’. The authors include Dr Wilma Waterlander, Helen Eyles and $11 million trougher recipient Cliona Ni Mhurchu from the University of Auckland’s National Institute for Health Innovation, School of Population Health.

Now we find out the paper has significant flaws in it.  The Food & Grocery Council has exposed their research as nothing short of being junk science.   

It’s well worth a read to see how bad some of these researchers troughers are getting it wrong. Here’s but one bit.

“The major flaws in the study’s methodology and the complete misuse of the FSANZ Nutrient Profiling Scoring System created misleading results unfortunately accepted by many as gospel. The paper also created the impression that ‘ultra-processed’ foods are automatically ‘bad’, which is false. It makes perfect sense that some foods must be processed so they are edible e.g. Weet-Bix, bread and dairy products.

Those who took the trouble to read the research rather than just rely on Auckland University’s public relations release were shocked to see the sorts of foods caught up in the so-called ‘bad’ food category included cheese, yoghurt, frozen and canned vegetables, bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, rice meals, and spreads like Marmite & Vegemite – foods that most people regard as part of a balanced diet.”

Waterlander, Eyles and Ni Mhurchu should wander over to the University of Auckland’s business school to learn a thing or two about the New Zealand businesses environment in New Zealand.

Like how they describe Progressive Enterprises as a cooperative like its arch rival Foodstuffs. Understanding the nuances of company structures seems beyond them. They’re also well off the pace when it comes to understanding what’s happening in Government as well. They cite the Ministry of Economic Development, yet that hasn’t been around for years since Joyce’s MBIE gobbled them up. Simple fact-checking seems to have escaped them.

But hey, why let facts stand in the way of a good story.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story.  And when he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet.   Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet, and as a result he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him.  But you can’t ignore him.