Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bacteria-killing viruses okayed for meat and poultry - no labeling required

If there weren't enough reasons to avoid cold cuts, hotdogs, and sausages - here's one more. The FDA just gave first-ever approval for luncheon meats (including sliced turkey and ham), hot dogs, and sausages to be sprayed with a mix of bacteria-killing viruses. These viruses are supposed to protect us against listeria on ready-to-eat meats. Listeria is primarly a danger to pregnant women, newborns (who eat cold cuts?) and adults with a weakened immune system.

So how it works is that the viruses are grown in a preparation of the bacteria they are supposed to kill. Then the viruses are purified to get rid of the bacteria. The Associated Press reported that "The FDA had concerns that the virus preparation portentially could contain toxic residues associated with the bacteria. However, testing did not reveal the presence of such residues," So does that mean they won't test the actual products for these residues because they didn't show up in these intitial tests? And they continue "which in small quantities likely wouldn't cause health problems anyway, the FDA said." LIKELY! Don't they know????

And to top it off - meat and poultry treated with the spray do NOT have to be labeled as such.
I'm wondering if this affects organic products? Can organic turkey slices be sprayed with this stuff and still be organic?

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