Fact check: Vaccines given to animals are metabolized before they are used for meat, milk
The claim: mRNA vaccines are in the food supply
A Jan. 12 Truth Press article expounds upon a post by a critic of mRNA vaccines.
“Dr. Malone: MRNA Vaccines Are Being Injected Into Our Food Supply,” reads the article's headline. It refers to a Jan. 11 Substack post from Dr. Robert Malone, a former vaccine scientist who now campaigns against mRNA vaccines.
The article later says, "That means, if you consume the vaccinated animal, the mRNA vaccine enters your body."
The Truth Press article was shared more than 1,500 times on Facebook in a month, according to the social analytics tool CrowdTangle.
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Our rating: False
There is no evidence the human food supply contains mRNA vaccines. While livestock are occasionally vaccinated with mRNA vaccines, no milk or meat is harvested from the animals until the vaccines have been metabolized. Experts say there is little to no possibility of the mRNA vaccine entering the food supply through livestock.
Vaccinated animals withdrawn from food supply for weeks
The Substack article from Malone reports on the development of mRNA vaccines for "animal health applications" in livestock and companion animals by companies like BioNTech prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Truth Press article takes this further by claiming that leads to people ingesting mRNA vaccines.
But this is not true, according to Terry Lehenbauer, a professor and director of the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center at the University of California-Davis.
Lehenbauer told USA TODAY in an email that due to federal guidelines, neither meat nor milk can be harvested from animals receiving any kind of vaccines until several weeks after their shots, giving the animals time to fully metabolize the vaccines.
For most vaccines, regardless of if they use mRNA technology, the withdrawal period is 60 days. However, it can be as short as 21 days, according to Jason Melby, a spokesperson for veterinary vaccine developer Medgene Labs.
A 2014 document from the Department of Agriculture states, "Withdrawal times are intended to ensure meat, milk, or other products for human consumption from the vaccinated animal are free from adjuvant or vaccine organism contamination."
Pall Thordarson, the director of the University of New South Wales RNA Institute, previously told USA TODAY there is little concern about mRNA vaccines being passed on to someone through the consumption of meat or milk.
While inactive virus particles in traditional vaccines can be found in meat or milk for weeks afterward, he said mRNA “breaks down very quickly – we are talking a matter of days at most."
Fact check: False claim Bill Gates tweeted about vaccines in the food supply
USA TODAY reached out to Truth Press and Malone for comment.
PolitiFact and AFP also debunked this claim.
Our fact-check sources:
Terry Lehenbauer, Feb. 2-7, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Jason Melby, Feb.. 7-8 Email exchange with USA TODAY
Pall Thordarson, Oct. 20-24, Email exchange with USA TODAY
USDA APHIS, 2014, Vaccination for Contagious Diseases
Viruses journal. Feb. 15, 2022, mRNA Vaccine Development for Emerging Animal and Zoonotic Diseases
USA TODAY, Nov. 2, 2022, Fact check: False claim about mandatory mRNA vaccines, deaths in Australian cattle
Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News, May 10, 2016, Bayer Partners with BioNTech to Develop mRNA Vaccines, Drugs for Animal Health
PolitiFact, Jan. 23, No, mRNA vaccines aren’t widely used in livestock and can't get into the food supply
AFP, Jan. 26, mRNA vaccine cannot transfer through meat consumption
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim mRNA vaccines are in the food supply