Celebrity chef Pete Evans was in the classroom on Thursday, teaching students about the benefits of his controversial "Paleo Way" diet, just a day after his children's cookbook was delayed amid fears the recipes could stunt the growth of babies.
His school visit comes as it was claimed negative comments about his diet are being deleted from his official Facebook page, meaning only positive and supportive feedback is published.
Despite the Public Health Association of Australia expressing concerns that Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way cookbook could cause the death of infants, Evans visited a school in Ballarat, Victoria, where he taught children in years five and six how to cook paleo recipes.
"We had the best time this morning with the grade 5 and 6 kids cooking thai chicken cakes with cucumber, avo, lettuce and corriander," 'Paleo Pete' posted on his Facebook page.
"We also cooked mighty meaty muffins with loadsa vegies and some chia seed and coconut puddings. Nothing I love more than seeing kids learning new skills!"
On Wednesday, it was announced that the release of Evan's paleo cookbook for children had been delayed due to grave concerns about the nutritional value of recipes in the book.
The cookbook, Bubba Yum Yum: the Paleo Way, is the joint venture of celebrity chef and My Kitchen Rules judge Evans, a long time advocate for the paleo diet, baby-blogger Charlotte Carr and naturopath Helen Padarin.
The Public Health Association of Australia said that one of the recipes- a do-it-yourself baby formula made from liver and bone broth- had the potential to stunt the growth of babies and impair development.
"In my view, there's a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead," said Professor Heather Yeatman, president of the PHAA.
The criticism comes amid claims comments on Evans' Facebook page expressing negative sentiments over the paleo lifestyle are being deleted.
After accusations from readers that their feedback was being erased, a rival Facebook page called Blocked By Evans was started, where people could raise their concerns freely. There was also a Twitter hashtag #blockedbypete.
Just this week, in the wake of the cookbook controversy, comments questioning the safety of the broth were removed and the posters blocked from the page.
Kirstie Cubbins, 31, a stay-at-home mother, had several comments she posted about the health concerns authorities has raised removed from the page.
"I linked to a news article about it [the bone and liver broth] and pointed out what the particular concerns about the formula was, and that it was by the public health authority," Ms Cubbins told Daily Mail Australia.
"My comments were met with being told I was not welcome on the page as I was not going to support the paleo lifestyle."
Ms Cubbins' comments were deleted and she was blocked from responding, though replies to her comments were left on the page.
"I haven't even commented on Pete Evans' page before but had been aware he is prone to deleting comments and blocking people," she said.
"My comments were never abusive, derogatory, rude or full of swearing. They just put the factual information across about why the baby formula recipe and other recipes in the new book were dangerous to babies."
Daria Mayberry, a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, had a similar experience on the page when Evans posted to his Facebook page comments linking the modern Australian diet and the rise of autism.
"I was disappointed to see yet another celebrity making an incorrect judgement about the developmental disorder. I commented to say that his statement was incorrect and that ASD [autism spectrum disorder] has multiple causes of which we are still discovering many," Mayberry told Daily Mail Australia.
Mayberry said she was surprised to see that Evans was advocating the elimination of entire food groups, including grains, and posted a further question regarding how the celebrity chef came to the conclusion 'despite good scientific evidence to show their nutritional benefit, particularly in wholegrain form.'
Both of her comments were deleted and she is now blocked from commenting or liking any post on the page.
"I think banning and blocking people who are questioning, asking questions and discussing comments that are genuine and polite is dangerous because it creates an environment where one person controls what information is visible," Mayberry said.
"Pete Evans has blocked many health professionals and professional bodies from his page. These are people who unlike him have extensive training, clinical experience and access to scientific evidence about health," she said.
"I would think their skills would be respected by someone who wants to improve societies health. Its important to promote trust and dialogue between medical and health professionals and the public."
Following claims in December last year that comments were being deleted from the page, three social media users launched a response page 'Blocked by Pete Evans' to address what they saw as a dangerous trend of blocking genuine discussion.
Gabrielle, one of the moderators of the page, said that many people had been blocked from Pete Evan's official page, most of whom were enquiring for more information about the specifics of the diet.
"I and most of the individuals on this page where blocked for simply asking a question that challenged paleo ideology or posting a scientific journal paper link that disproved claims being made," Gabrielle told Daily Mail Australia.
"We have been accused of being 'trolls'. However simply asking a question in a civil manner is not trolling. I have only ever commented on his page once and I was blocked," she said.
Gabrielle said that several health professionals even had their accounts 'pre-blocked'.
"A couple of dietitians who have their own blogs wrote open letters asking Pete to stop tarnishing our profession and for this they were pre-blocked without even writing on his wall," she said.
"It is very sad when someone who claims to know all the answers cannot even answer to health professionals."
Gabrielle said that she had even seen instances of 'tribe followers' asking for advice on ailments and being berated by users, or having their comments deleted.
"In the instance where a health professional has suggested they visit a doctor it is also deleted, which as you can imagine is a a great concern for the health of the individual reaching out."
The publisher of the paleo baby cookbook, Pan Macmillan Australia, released a statement which advised that "the publication of
Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way
has been delayed, and not recalled as incorrectly stated by Australian Women's Weekly on March 11, 2015. The publisher will be making no further comment at this time."
Evans has previously released two best-selling cookbooks through publisher Pan MacMillan, including titles Family Food and Healthy Every Day, and Carr, the wife of Australian Idol contestant Wes Carr, runs the popular Bubba Yum Yum website.
Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley has allegedly been contacted regarding the issue, and publisher Pan Macmillan has reportedly held off on the scheduled release date of the cookbook of March 13.
The Federal Department of Health released a statement regarding the concerns that had been brought to its attention.
"The Department of Health is aware of this publication and has concerns about the inadequate nutritional value of some of the recipes, in particular the infant formula, and has been consulting with experts and will continue to investigate this matter," the statement said.
A disclaimer at the back of the cookbook states that the co-authors 'in good faith' the recipes will lead to a healthier life, "relying on the information contained in this publication may not give you the results you desire or may cause negative health consequences."
Despite this, the book has been described as '" treasure trove of nutritional information and nourishing paleo recipes that are guaranteed to put you and your little one on the path to optimum health."
Read our previous story here:
Pete Evans' paleo book on hold over fears 'a baby may die'
A paleo cookbook for infants co-authored by My Kitchen Rules chef Pete Evans has been delayed over grave concerns about a recipe for baby formula made from liver and bone broth.
- Daily Mail