Give the foie gras a miss

Feb 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

Explore further: Oil-swishing craze: Snake oil or all-purpose remedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

India's ancient mammals survived multiple pressures

11 minutes ago

Most of the mammals that lived in India 200,000 years ago still roam the subcontinent today, in spite of two ice ages, a volcanic super-eruption and the arrival of people, a study reveals.

Recommended for you

Suddenly health insurance is not for sale

Apr 18, 2014

(HealthDay)— Darlene Tucker, an independent insurance broker in Scotts Hill, Tenn., says health insurers in her area aren't selling policies year-round anymore.

Study: Half of jailed NYC youths have brain injury (Update)

Apr 18, 2014

About half of all 16- to 18-year-olds coming into New York City's jails say they had a traumatic brain injury before being incarcerated, most caused by assaults, according to a new study that's the latest in a growing body ...

Autonomy and relationships among 'good life' goals

Apr 18, 2014

Young adults with Down syndrome have a strong desire to be self-sufficient by living independently and having a job, according to a study into the meaning of wellbeing among young people affected by the disorder.

User comments : 0

More news stories

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Study says we're over the hill at 24

(Medical Xpress)—It's a hard pill to swallow, but if you're over 24 years of age you've already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.