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Adding FDA-Approved Viruses to Meat

August 2, 2012 by Michael Greger M.D. in News with 42 Comments

Bacteria-eating viruses (bacteriophages) have been approved as meat additives to reduce the food safety risks associated with processed meat and poultry products. There is a concern, however, that viruses fed to chickens could spread toxin genes between bacteria, the subject of my 3-min. video Viral Meat Spray (and noted in my full-length 2012 presentation Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death).

In my book Bird Flu I have a chapter about more of these creative meat industry “technofixes.” Rectal poultry superglue anyone?

In the video I talk about Listeria, the third leading cause of food poisoning related death. For more about leading causes #1 and #2 see my videos Total Recall and Brain Parasites in Meat, and for what Campylobacter can do, Poultry and Paralysis.

For videos on other risks associated with processed meat consumption, see Preventing COPD with Diet, Prevention Is Better Than Cured Meat, and Hot Dogs & Leukemia.

Additional feed additives of questionable safety in chicken are depicted in my videos Arsenic in Chicken and Drug Residues in Meat.

The meat industry is concerned that consumers might be wary of the meat sprayed with bacteria-eating viruses: “[C]onsumer acceptance of bacteriophage usage may present something of a challenge to the food industry.” If they think they’re going to have consumer acceptance issues with spreading viruses on meat, that’s nothing compared to an even more novel technique to preserve meat I profile in my video Maggot Meat Spray.

Think about it. Maggots thrive on rotting meat, yet there have been no reports that housefly larvae have any serious diseases, indicating that they may have a strong immune system. They must be packed with some sort of antibacterial properties—otherwise they’d presumably get infected and die themselves.

So… researchers took 3-day-old maggots, blended them up, and voilà’—good grub! Or shall I say grubs?

Other videos liable to bug you include Cheese Mites and Maggots, Are Artificial Colors Harmful?Nontoxic Head Lice Treatment and (*spoiler alert* :) the yet to be uploaded videos The Healthiest Meat and Bug Appétit: Barriers to Entomophagy off of my new volume 10 Latest in Nutrition DVD.

-Michael Greger, M.D.

Image credit: Bacter / Wikimedia Commons

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Dr. Michael Greger

About Michael Greger M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

View all videos by Michael Greger M.D.

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  • http://twitter.com/cfgt5 Gregory Butler

    One day insects will probably be used as a common animal protein source in this country. They are abundant, and are not fed with antibiotics, and hormones. People may think it is disgusting now, however some countries already eat insects. If insects are cheap, and supposedly organic people may buy them??

  • http://twitter.com/cfgt5 Gregory Butler

    One day I predict insects will probably be used as a common animal protein source in this country. They are abundant, and are not fed with antibiotics, and hormones. People may think it is disgusting now, however some countries already eat insects. If insects are cheap, and supposedly organic people may buy them??

  • Geoffrey Levens

    Golly gee, spray on virus to kill bacteria than eat everything that’s left.  Sounds so reasonable, looks so good on paper. What could possibly go wrong… Bwa-ha-ha

  • LKSkinner

    Cheese bugs! And now Viral Meat Spray! Sounds like a good name for a rock band. 
    These FDA-approved buggy processes that the meat industry is considering using on meat products are indicative of the disdain they have for consumers. Hey, people will eat anything, even virus-coated meat!
    The best way for consumers to fight back against this to switch to a plant-strong, vegan diet. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/barry.schifreen Barry Schifreen

    if the meat folks can sell pink slime, why not blended maggots?

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