What’s Wrong with Industrial Food: Viruses as Food Additives

If you ever needed a reason to avoid “ready-to-eat” meats, here’s one for you. The FDA has just approved viruses as a food additive.

[link to CNN.com article]

The special viruses, called bacteriophages, are meant to kill strains of the Listeria monocytogenes bacterium, the Food and Drug Administration said in declaring it safe to use on ready-to-eat meats prior to their packaging.

…Consumers won’t be aware that meat and poultry products have been treated with the spray…

…The viruses are grown in a preparation of the very bacteria they kill, and then purified. The FDA had concerns that the virus preparation potentially could contain toxic residues associated with the bacteria. However, testing did not reveal the presence of such residues, which in small quantities likely wouldn’t cause health problems anyway, the FDA said.

All righty then. Pre-packaged lunch meats are full of all sorts of nasty chemicals and preservatives anyway. Apparently, that isn’t sufficient and we need to spray it with viruses (virii?) as well.

I won’t be feeding my kid any bologna or other lunch meat, ever. How can this mix of toxins, viruses, and preservatives possibly be good for us?

Call me old-fashioned, but I’ll just slice some meat off of the roast chicken I made on Sunday (or the roast beef, or the roast turkey) and make a sandwich out of that. At least I know what’s in it!

Last but not least, remember that this is the same Food and Drug Administration that brought us Vioxx. The same FDA that insists that if it a product could prevent, cure, or mitigate a disease or condition, it must be a drug. (For example, those who sell calcium are prohibited from mentioning that it reduces the risk of bone fractures.) The same FDA that sent letters to cherry distributors saying that when health benefits are mentioned, the cherries then become “drugs” that are subject to seizure.

The same FDA that allows meat manufacturers to use carbon monoxide gas mixtures during the packaging process to prevent discoloration of meat. This discoloration is an indicator that the meat is spoiling due to bacterial growth. Oh yeah, that’s why they have to spray the meat with viruses. And thus we come full circle.