Give the foie gras a miss

February 10, 2009,

Another reason not to eat pate de foie gras is discussed by Michael Greger of The Humane Society of the United States, Washington DC in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health.

Harmful proteins fragments known as amyloid fibrils associated with damage to brain cells in Alzheimer's disease and to pancreatic cells in Type II diabetes can be present in the meat of poultry and mammals. These amyloids are not destroyed even with high-temperature cooking process.

Greger, who is the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States is concerned with this discovery and the transmissibility of amyloid fibrils. Researchers have recently demonstrated in the laboratory that these compounds, when ingested, can enter the organs of laboratory rats fed affected meat.

Greger explains that a biochemical mechanism akin to the replication of similar protein fragments in the brain diseases Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), scrapie, and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease, might occur when amyloid fibrils enter brain tissue or the pancreas. He points out that high levels of these materials can be found in pâté de foie gras, fatty liver pate, produced by force-feeding poultry.

Stressed poultry birds are known to undergo spontaneous amyloidosis due to a chronic inflammatory response that causes amyloid fibrils to form non-functioning deposits of this protein-like material in their organs. In laboratory tests amyloidosis is found to be accelerated by injection of tiny quantities of amyloid fibrils, which induce production of the malformed proteins strands.

Greger points out that pâté de foie gras is the only food stuff currently known to contain high levels of amyloid fibrils and no demonstration of it affecting people has been seen. However, the suggestion from laboratory research is that amyloid fibrils may be transmitted in a similar way to prion diseases like BSE/CJD is cause for concern.

Mice fed amyloid-affected beef, for instance, succumb to amyloidosis within weeks. Given that amyloidosis can occur in a wide variety of wild as well as domesticated animals, including chickens, cattle, dogs, goats, horses, sheep and, rarely, cats and pigs, Greger suggests that urgent research is now needed to ensure we are not eating food that might one day lead to amyloidosis in people.

Source: Inderscience Publishers

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Low-fat or low-carb? It's a draw, study finds

February 20, 2018
New evidence from a study at the Stanford University School of Medicine might dismay those who have chosen sides in the low-fat versus low-carb diet debate.

Tobacco kills, no matter how it's smoked: study

February 20, 2018
(HealthDay)—Smokers who think cigars or pipes are somehow safer than cigarettes may want to think again, new research indicates.

Just a few minutes of light intensity exercise linked to lower death risk in older men

February 19, 2018
Clocking up just a few minutes at a time of any level of physical activity, including of light intensity, is linked to a lower risk of death in older men, suggests research published online in the British Journal of Sports ...

Calcium and Vitamin D supplements are not associated with risk of heart attacks

February 16, 2018
New research from the University of Southampton has found no association between the use of calcium or vitamin D supplementation and cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.

Women who clean at home or work face increased lung function decline

February 16, 2018
Women who work as cleaners or regularly use cleaning sprays or other cleaning products at home appear to experience a greater decline in lung function over time than women who do not clean, according to new research published ...

Study shows options to decrease risk of motor vehicle crashes for adolescent drivers

February 16, 2018
Adolescents who receive comprehensive and challenging on-road driving assessments prior to taking the license test might be protected from future motor vehicle crashes, according to a University of Alabama at Birmingham study ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.