Celebrity chef Pete Evans is under fire for promoting a $24,000 “light machine” that he says offers “thousands of recipes” and can treat the “Wuhan coronavirus”.
The BioCharger NG device is being sold through the My Kitchen Rules judge’s website for $US14,990 ($A23,898) – with a $500 discount for Evans’ followers.
Its manufacturer says the machine is a “hybrid subtle energy revitalisation platform” that uses “four transmitted energies” to “stimulate and invigorate the entire body to optimise and improve potential health, wellness, and athletic performance”.
In a Facebook video on Thursday night, Evans said the BioCharger “was a pretty amazing tool” that will “take me an hour or two to explain”. He said it offered “a thousand different recipes and a couple on there for Wuhan coronavirus”.
Brisbane dietitian Mandy-Lee Noble shared the video on Twitter late on Thursday.
“Pete Evans is selling this ridiculous device for US$15K claiming it has some action against ‘Wuhan coronavirus’,” she wrote, before urging the Therapeutic Goods Administration and NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard to investigate and “shut Evans down”.
The Australian Medical Association agreed, saying Evans was targeting vulnerable and frightened people amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“He is not a doctor. He is not a scientist. He is a chef,” AMA tweeted on Friday.
Advanced Biotechnologies, the American company that makes the BioCharger, claims to be “the innovation leader within the emerging field of subtle energy revitalisation platforms”.
The company’s website claims the BioCharger NG uses four energy types – “Light, Voltage, Frequencies & Harmonics, and Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Fields”.
“Each has its fair share of supported research. However, the BioCharger NG is the first energy platform of its kind to incorporate all four of these beneficial energies into one platform,” the company claims.
But Ms Noble, who is a member of Friends in Medicine and Science, said the machine was basically a “glorified plasma lamp”.
“It makes your hairs stand on end, and the recipes are different colours – it’s a recipe from the lamp, putting on a different colour show,” she told the Daily Telegraph.
“It says on the clip online, ‘just like you charge your phone, this charges you’.
“It is probably no threat to people but if people think this in any way will treat or prevent COVID-19 infection, that risks our community response to the pandemic, that is dangerous, it’s an indirect harm,” she said.
Evans, who has more than 1.5 million followers on social media, has a history of promoting alternative health treatments.
He stirred up controversy in 2015 with a paleo cookbook for babies that included a recipe for a breastmilk replacement made out of chicken liver and bone broth. The Public Health Association of Australia said babies could potentially die from ingesting the mixture.
“In my view, there’s a very real possibility that a baby may die if this book goes ahead,” PHAA president Professor Heather Yeatman said.
In 2017, Evans claimed eating three meals a day was unhealthy and a “multinational food industry” invention to boost business.
In 2019, at the height of the deadly measles epidemic in Samoa, Evans posted a picture of himself to Facebook with anti-vaccine advocate Robert F Kennedy Jr, saying he was doing “important work”.
“It just goes to show our Health Care Complaints Commission and Therapeutic Goods Administration and health minister Brad Hazzard how much of a risk Pete Evans is to the community,” Ms Noble said.
“They need to take action to shut Evans down and Channel 7 needs to stop giving him a platform.”