Doctor's Note

I’ve touched on this before in my videos Salmonella in Chicken and Turkey: Deadly but Not Illegal, Zero Tolerance to Acceptable Risk and Unsafe at Any Feed. For more on the Foster Farms outbreak, see my last video Foster Farms Responds to Chicken Salmonella Outbreaks.

More on the issue of cross-contamination in

Note when it comes to egg-borne infection the issue is not just cross-contamination, given Salmonella can survive the most common egg cooking methods. Check out my video Total Recall.

Though some meat additives may make meat safer (Viral Meat Spray and Maggot Meat Spray), others may increase the food safety risk. See my video Phosphate Additives in Chicken. In my next video, Who Determines if Food Additives are Safe?, I’ll explore how it is that harmful additives can end up on store shelves.

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  • Leslie

    Dr. Greger, how about the cultured soy food Natto? Is this healthy or does it fall into the “don’t eat” category of kimchi? Also, is the science convincing that Natto is healthy? Any possible side effects of thinning the blood too much, preventing proper blood clotting? Thank you.

    • Darryl

      Natto is the vegan food highest in spermidine and K2 Mk7, and that is enough to make it intriguing. It’s very much an acquired taste though, I occasionally order natto sushi rolls, and they’re always the last thing on the plate.

      It also lacks the high salt content which IMO is the likely issue with kimchi.

      • Leslie

        Thanks. Just curious, you mentioned you sometimes order natto sushi rolls….do you ever have any raw fish sushi , even in small amounts?

        • Darryl

          Not since January 2010. But I’ll try the few vegan options when accompanying family to a sushi restaurant. My favorite at a local place with a vegetarian menu is the “Teardrop Roll” made with real Wasabia japonica.

          Sushi refers to the vinegar & sugar seasoned rice, sashimi is the raw fish often included.

          • guest

            If no fish in your diet do you take a vegan DHA supplement?

          • Darryl

            Actually, a DHA/EPA supplement. As I’m not an infant, pregnant or nursing, the DHA is less important to me than achieving as high a ratio of EPA to arachidonic acid as feasible. I think the EPA helps reduce inflammatory signalling in the context of a low fat, low (or no) animal product diet, but I’m not surprised low-dose fish-oil supplementation has limited effects in the context of high fat and high arachidonic acid Western diets.

          • Guest

            Is your supplement an algae DHA/EPA or is it fish oil derived? Thank you much. I value your insight and choices on these and other vegan concerns.

          • Guest

            I’m agree with you on the EPA importance. I have been looking for a vegan supplement with more EPA in it than DHA, but no luck. I hear that more EPA than DHA can be better, for certain issues, but if too high DHA to EPA, things can get messed up.

          • Darryl

            There’s interconversion in vivo of the two long-chain n-3 fatty acids, though I don’t know how effective it is. There’s one major algal LCPUFA supplier at present (all the vegan brands are rebranding), and their most cost effective supplement is 130 mg EPA and 300 mg DHA per capsule. That ratio, though perhaps not absolute quantities, is common to all the algal EPA+DHA supplements.

  • Why am I not surprised by this? For better and often for worse, the US allegedly protects the “freedom to” instead of the “freedom from”. That is until it hits big corporations in the pocket.

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    Why does fact always have to be more shocking than fiction!

    It never ceases to amaze me at how the meat and dairy industries can turn a blind eye to the problems they cause. Really? Would they say and do ludicrous things like this to their own children?

  • JustinTyme2011911

    LOVE the analogy at the end!!

  • John S

    I didn’t see anything in the video about kimchi. Why would kimchi be considered a “don’t eat” food?We eat it regularly. Does this mean we are also supposed to stop eating sauerkraut and fermented vegetables in general? I thought they were about the healthiest thing to eat.
    John S
    PDX OR

    • Leslie

      Dr. Greger has a video and in it he says that kimchi is not safe to consume. I think he feels it causes and or is associated with developing cancer. As far Natto, I do not know. My concern with natto is that it might do both good and bad, as far as fibrin.

  • John S

    Thanks for helping me find the video Leslie. Since these are the only two studies I’ve heard of, and no other health doctor I’ve ever heard of has warned against kimchi, I’m going to take it with a grain of salt. I would love to see follow up studies. For example, kim chi has tons of red chilis in it. Is that large amount of chilis causing the gastric cancer? We don’t know.

    • Leslie

      Dr. Greger seemed not to waver on this. Very clear on it. And others here seem to believe his conviction. I really think something in the data convinced him that kimchi is/can be harmful, even in moderation.

    • HemoDynamic, M.D.

      Reason behind Kimchi causing cancers:
      Exerpt from Gastric Cancer Epidemiology (Link at end of post)

      It appears it’s not the cabbage that is the problem, it’s the salt that the cabbage comes in that is the problem.

      “1) Salt or salted food

      The average daily salt intake in the Korean population was 13.4 g in 2005,(23) whereas the daily intake recommended by the World Health Organization is less than 5 g.(24) Ingestion of salt directly damages the stomach lining, enhancing the carcinogenic effects of gastric carcinogens, increasing nitroso compound formation, and facilitating H. pylori infection.(25) An ecological study on the association between sodium intake evaluated by 24-hour urine collection and gastric cancer mortality and incidence in four areas of Korea suggested a positive correlation between sodium intake and gastric cancer incidence and mortality.(26) A salt preference showed a 1.1-fold increased risk for gastric cancer in a cohort study of 2,248,129 subjects.(27)

      “Kimchi, which is allegedly believed to have anti-carcinogenic properties, accounts for approximately 20% of sodium intake.(23) Case-control studies on the intake level of kimchi and gastric cancer risk generally showed an increased risk among subjects with high or frequent intakes of kimchi.(28-30) In addition, a high intake of soybean paste (28) or frequent intake of soybean paste stew (31) increased the risk of gastric cancer.”

      And this last statement on soy and gastric cancer shows again it’s the salt because we know soy is a healthy food to eat and actually lowers the incidence of cancer when in it’s whole, plant food form.

      • Leslie

        Awesome reply. Thanks so much. There is hope that kimchi will once again be allowed on our vegan-plates!.

      • jd

        Then does that mean Sauerkraut is also risky?

  • Jeremy Amos

    Big business controls everything for their own advantage.

    • Susan

      Right on! I learned this too late for my osteoporosis, which is really bad. And after reading the book, Deadly Monopolies and doing some basic research online with every product my physicians have prescribed, which are recombinant dna from E-coli bacteria, I decided not to trust the U.S. FDA or the biotechnology-pharmaceutical companies any more than I trust the biotech-pesticide corporations who are poisoning our food with GMO’s made from E-coli and other antibiotic resistant bacteria in order for the plant to resist lethal amounts of herbicides.

      I ordered a worm farm and red worms, which I’m feeding nutrient rich certified organic vegan foods, in order to create my own fertilizer to grow certified organic seeds in raised beds.

      Don Huber, an award-winning, internationally
      recognized scientist, and professor of plant pathology at Purdue University for the past 35 years focused his agricultural research on the epidemiology and control of soil-borne plant pathogens,
      with specific emphasis on microbial ecology, cultural and biological controls, and the physiology of host-parasite relationships. He is an expert in his many fields.

      Dr. Huber says: “About 85 percent of all genetically engineered plants are herbicide-tolerant—designed to tolerate very high levels of herbicides, glyphosate in particular. These are the so-called Roundup Ready crops.

      It’s important to realize that Glyphosate is not ‘just’ an herbicide. It was first patented as a mineral chelator. It immobilizes nutrients, so they are not physiologically available for your body…”

      I took this very seriously when embarking on eating vegan foods, and only purchase organically grown and produced crops of whole food. Hopefully, my compost will be ready before vested corporate interests and their allies in government dismantle organic food production in the USA and around the world.

      My orthopedic surgeon said he had never seen anyone grow bone as fast as I after a fractured pelvis. Hopefully my lumbar fracture will heal just as quickly, because I refuse to ingest biologics. Don’t trust the horrible side effects of not affecting me. Would rather go with what I have without more health damage from the drugs.

  • leslie kotkin

    what is wrong with Kimchi?

    • guest

      apparently it might cause cancer. Dr. Greger says so.

  • John

    This study appears to be the best explanation I have yet found. I may stop eating kimchi with radish in it, and pay attention to further studies.

    JOhn S
    PDX OR

  • John S

    Radishes appear to be one of the foods with high nitrates in them, and nitrates have been implicated in some cancers. Koreans in general have high rates of stomach and gastric cancer, although that may have something to do with the large amount of barbecued meat that they eat. For right now, I will choose the napa cabbage kimchi, which according to the study, was associated with lower rates of gastric cancer, rather than the radish kimchi, which was associated with higher rates.

    Very high nitrate levels (> 250 mg/100 g*): arugula (rocket or rucola), bok choy, celery, chervil, collard greens, cress, lettuce, radish, red beetroot, rhubarb, spinach, Swiss chard.

    From this athletic health website:
    JOhn S
    PDX OR

    • Toxins

      nitrates and nitrites are 2 different compounds. Dr. Greger covers nitrates here.

      To summarize, when you consume plant foods, they may contain nitrates. These nitrates alone are not harmful, they are absorbed and recirculated to your mouth and the oral flora converts nitrates to nitrites. The journey continues as nitrates enter your stomach. At this point, if one has consumed a fatty meal, as commonly found with nitrites in cured animal products, then the nitrites become nitrosamines which are indeed carcinogenic. In the absence of fat, the nitrites become nitric oxide and contribute to the mitochondrial efficiency of cells, including skeletal muscles.

  • omrsramsay

    Big scandal in the meat industry, as revealed by investigative reporter Upton Sinclair working undercover in a meat packing plant in Chicago. Oh wait, 1906? That’s old news. I’m sure the FDA is doing a much better job these days.

  • 7in1

    the joke of washing it inside toilet was excellent.

  • Pierre-Alex

    Not only Sweden, Dr Greger,
    In France also we have a strict salmonella control plan, every lot is salmonella controlled and a positive will be destroyed. This may be the case in almost every state of the European Union.
    unfortunately in french :

    So, 1300 human cases of salmonellosis/ 65 millions inhabitants France 2011 to compare with american rate.

    I’m afraid absurd economic lobbying has the same influence in Europe as in the Us in a short delay…

  • Chris Hartley

    Interesting article from the BBC “Washing chicken ‘spreads infection'”

    “Consumers are being warned to stop washing raw chicken as doing so increases the risk of food poisoning.”