Viruses Are Being Sprayed on Your Foods – How Safe Are They?

September 12, 2006
Volume 03    |   Issue 40

The FDA is spraying viruses on your food. They say they're safe, but we've heard that story before with hormones, Vioxx, and other substances.

These viruses, called bacteriophages – or phages – infect and kill specific bacteria, such as listeria, a deadly bacterium that causes food poisoning. Listeria usually attacks foods as luncheon meats, hot dogs, sliced ham and turkey, and other meat products. Recently, the FDA okayed a combination of six viruses grown on listeria to spray on these foods.

Bacteriophages affect only specific bacteria. They don't have the ability to get into plant or human cells. The FDA insists that they're safe for us to eat, but there's no possible way they can guarantee our safety. And they won't even list these viruses on the food label so that anyone who wants to avoid them can do so.

As you know, some people are more sensitive to various substances than others. We don't know what the long-term effects will be from eating foods sprayed with viruses. What's more, manufacturers don't have to tell us which meat and poultry products they treated with the viruses.

Here's another problem. Animals in poor health have more pathogenic bacteria than healthy animals. Instead of spraying our food with viruses, why not improve the health of the animals in our food supply?   (I'll tell you why:  because it's much cheaper to spray the food than it is to raise the animals in healthy, sanitary conditions!)

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Meanwhile, the FDA is considering phage therapy that targets E. coli and Salmonella. And it's highly likely that they will approve virus sprays for more foods.
Only time will tell whether or not phage sprays are completely safe when ingested frequently.  Meanwhile, we should all know which foods the manufacturers have sprayed and which ones they have not.

So contact the manufacturers of any processed meats you eat and ask them whether or not they spray their products with bacteriophages. If they do, you can choose not to eat them.

Look for organic meats at your local health food store and use them instead. Tell the manager of your supermarket why you've decided not to eat the hot dogs and luncheon meats they sell that may have viruses. Remind him that you have a right to know just what you're eating so that you can make an informed choice.

Your voice of reason in Women's Health,


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