Fact Check: FDA Approval Of Lab Meat NOT Connected To Study About Next Pandemic

Fact Check

  • de: Jurnaliștii Lead Stories
Fact Check: FDA Approval Of Lab Meat NOT Connected To Study About Next Pandemic No Connection

Is the recent approval of lab-made meat by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) related to a recent study by two universities stating that the next pandemic might originate in the United States? No, that's not true: The video discussing this is misleading. Even though the speaker does not directly link the two events, her framing of it leads to the impression that the two events are connected, casting doubt on the true nature and intent of the lab meat approval and the pandemic study.

The claim originated in a video by TikTok user www.caporalo.it (archived here), on August 24, 2023. The message of the video is:

The timing of the Harvard/NYU study coincided too much with the FDA approval of lad-made meat. What do you think?

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-08-30 at 10.59.15.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Aug 30 07:36:22 2023 UTC)

The next global pandemic could come from the United States, according to a study from the Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard Law School and the Center for Environmental & Animal Protection at New York University, published in July 2023.

The report examines how humans, livestock and wild animals interact and how, given that the U.S. is home to an enormous array of animal industries -- including industrial agriculture, fur farming and the exotic pet trade, these may pose a significant risk of creating infectious disease outbreaks in humans. Zoonotic diseases are often the result of viral infections crossing over from wild animal populations to domesticated ones and to humans. Poor hygiene, lack of animal protection and effective regulatory oversight, or unsafe practices in the industries are blamed. In the U.S., regulations are so loose and interactions between wild and domesticated animals and humans are so frequent, researchers found, that a virus or another contagious bug could easily jump from animals to people, sparking a deadly outbreak.

In June 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) gave two startups permission to sell lab-grown chicken. GOOD Meat, a subsidiary of food technology company Eat Just, Inc., and UPSIDE Foods will be able to sell their products, which have been cultivated from real animal cells. GOOD Meat got a "no questions" letter from the FDA in March, which means its chicken has been declared safe to eat. Rival startup Upside Foods has also been given clearance to sell its poultry products to U.S. consumers.

There is no correlation between the two events. The assumption that lab-grown meat, which occurs in an extremely controlled environment, may lead to viruses that cause pandemics is without scientific foundation. The video misleads by casting doubt on the safety of lab-made meat and the possibility that a pandemic might develop from the process. As the comments below the video show, respondents are blaming the U.S. and Bill Gates for concocting the next pandemic and for casting blame on animals instead.

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