Eating meat is dangerous to health. In mid-August, the practice of spraying live viruses on meat products was officially approved. The Baltimore company’s spray is called Intralytix, which contains six different viral strains designed to kill listeriosis. Meat companies are not required to inform consumers which foods have been processed and which have not. Decades ago, we learned that the fat found in meat increases the amount of cholesterol in the blood of consumers. And that leads to heart attacks. Therefore, doctors advised us to reduce the consumption of meat and enrich the diet with vegetables. At the same time, the concept of “carcinogens” appeared. Grilled meat causes cancer. Chemicals called heterocyclic amines form on the surface of the meat, in the crispy crust. It is thanks to this crust that the incidence of cancer in meat-eaters increases. Chicken, as it turns out, produces far more carcinogens than beef. What if you boil the chicken? Studies have shown that mercury, other heavy metals, and various pesticides are abundant in animal tissues. I remember how fish was officially declared a worst nightmare: state and federal agencies issued strict warnings, fish is especially dangerous for children and women of reproductive age. Then they started talking about microbes in meat. Salmonella and Campylobacter have been declared responsible for thousands of cases each year. The bacterial threat reached a new level when E. coli led to a string of deaths among hamburger eaters. These and other dangerous intruders regularly hit beef, poultry and shellfish. And government agencies are spending millions of dollars trying to contain the scale of the problem. Further – worse. Mad cow disease originated in Europe and has been observed sporadically in North American cattle. It was not caused by fat, carcinogens, or microbes, but by a special kind of protein known as a prion. State and industry officials are spending millions on testing, and neurologists are studying the relationship between mad cow disease and rare forms of dementia. Meanwhile, scientists might notice that asparagus and eggplant do not cause rabies and insanity. Avocados don’t get the flu, and strawberry flu doesn’t exist either. But bird flu emerged as a potential pandemic. Birds are susceptible to viruses, just like other animals. They are usually not dangerous to humans. But our society loves birds so much—Americans now eat over a million chickens an hour—and that means huge numbers of chickens, turkeys, and other birds are raised for meat. Once the H5N1 virus settles in a poultry farm, it spreads rapidly.
And now, in order to kill some of the microbes that get from the animal’s intestinal tract and the earth onto a piece of meat containing saturated fats and cholesterol, people have thought of spraying the meat with viruses. Time to wake up and smell the problem. Millions of Americans are now meat-free. When they did, their cholesterol levels dropped. Their coronary arteries opened up again. Their weight is reduced, and their chances of getting cancer are reduced by 40 percent. Healthy vegetarian food can revive the health of the nation. Neil D. Barnard, MD, nutrition researcher and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.