Carcinogenic Retrovirus Found in Eggs

Carcinogenic Retrovirus Found in Eggs
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Avian leukosis/sarcoma virus has been found in 14% of retail egg samples.

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To recap: “Certain viruses commonly infect and cause a wide variety of cancers in chickens and turkeys destined for human consumption. They include the avian leukosis/sarcoma viruses, reticuloendotheliosis viruses, and Marek’s disease virus. The avian leukosis/sarcoma viruses and reticuloendotheliosis viruses are among the most potent cancer-causing agents known, and can induce cancer in poultry in a matter of…days.” This is what Marek’s disease looks like; you can see all the little tumors in the skin. It also can affect the chickens’ eyes.

What about people, though? Well, these viruses “are found present in raw poultry products, including raw or inadequately cooked poultry meat and eggs meant for human consumption, [as well as]…vaccines grown in eggs.”

They cite a study in which researchers went looking for avian leukosis/sarcoma virus, a carcinogenic retrovirus, in commercial eggs right off supermarket shelves, and found 14%; 14% of egg samples from 20 randomly chosen New Orleans retail stores tested positive for the virus.

“Thus the general population is commonly exposed…It is therefore of great interest whether these agents also cause cancer in humans.”

We don’t know for sure, but: “This large study provides evidence that a human group with high exposure to poultry oncogenic cancer-causing viruses has increased risk of dying from several cancers.”

Beyond just poultry workers, with regards to the general population: “The public health implication that the excess occurrence of some of these cancers in these workers may be associated with exposure to oncogenic viruses is not trivial.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Waleed Alzuhair / Flickr

To recap: “Certain viruses commonly infect and cause a wide variety of cancers in chickens and turkeys destined for human consumption. They include the avian leukosis/sarcoma viruses, reticuloendotheliosis viruses, and Marek’s disease virus. The avian leukosis/sarcoma viruses and reticuloendotheliosis viruses are among the most potent cancer-causing agents known, and can induce cancer in poultry in a matter of…days.” This is what Marek’s disease looks like; you can see all the little tumors in the skin. It also can affect the chickens’ eyes.

What about people, though? Well, these viruses “are found present in raw poultry products, including raw or inadequately cooked poultry meat and eggs meant for human consumption, [as well as]…vaccines grown in eggs.”

They cite a study in which researchers went looking for avian leukosis/sarcoma virus, a carcinogenic retrovirus, in commercial eggs right off supermarket shelves, and found 14%; 14% of egg samples from 20 randomly chosen New Orleans retail stores tested positive for the virus.

“Thus the general population is commonly exposed…It is therefore of great interest whether these agents also cause cancer in humans.”

We don’t know for sure, but: “This large study provides evidence that a human group with high exposure to poultry oncogenic cancer-causing viruses has increased risk of dying from several cancers.”

Beyond just poultry workers, with regards to the general population: “The public health implication that the excess occurrence of some of these cancers in these workers may be associated with exposure to oncogenic viruses is not trivial.”

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to Waleed Alzuhair / Flickr

Doctor's Note

But who eats raw eggs? It’s probably more a problem of cross-contamination before they’re cooked. See Total Recall. For info on viruses in poultry, see the last three videos: EPIC Findings on LymphomaChicken Dioxins, Viruses, or Antibiotics?; and Poultry and Penis Cancer.

The retail egg survey is open access, so feel free to download it by clicking on the link in the Sources Cited section above.

For more context, check out my associated blog posts: Eating Green to Prevent CancerHow Tumors Use Meat to Grow; and Eggs, Cigarettes, and Atherosclerosis.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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