Messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines became a household term during the COVID-19 pandemic. But many are unaware that these experimental shots may be used in livestock intended for food.
Concerns that mRNA injections could end up “in the global protein supply chain” prompted warnings from cattle producers and calls for mandatory country of origin labeling (MCOOL) so consumers can choose meat from countries that don’t allow mRNA shots in meat animals.1 Backlash quickly ensued, with media spinning a familiar tune and trying to paint the valid concerns as “conspiracy theories,” “fearmongering” and “misinformation.”2
Cattle Groups Calls for Caution Over mRNA in Beef
In an April 2023 news release, Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund United Stockgrowers of America (R-CALF USA), a nonprofit that represents interests of independent U.S. cattle producers, shared concerns about the use of mRNA shots in meat animals.
Max Thornsberry, DVM, R-CALF’s animal health committee chair, met with medial doctors and a molecular biologist before briefing the R-CALF USA board:3
“Thornsberry reported that some researchers have found that mRNA and its coded virus is likely passed from an injected human to a noninjected human, and to humans who have consumed dairy products or meat from an mRNA-injected animal.
He said that because the research on mRNA is still in its infancy, no one really knows the full impact it has on either humans or animals, particularly its long-term impact. He said this itself warrants more extensive mRNA research focused on safety, heightened public vigilance, and greater transparency.”
In a commentary, R-CALF CEO Bill Bullard also urged caution regarding mRNA injections, stating:4
“It’s not a vaccine as we typically understand vaccines. So, for the rest of this discussion, I’ll refer to it as an injection. It’s an injection of a laboratory-produced substance into humans or livestock that is coded with a particular virus, such as COVID-19, that produces an immune response against the particular virus.
And what does mRNA do? Well, it hijacks living cells, tricking them into producing some level of immunity against human viruses like COVID-19 and livestock viruses such as foot-and-mouth disease or lumpy skin disease. It does this by rewriting the instructions from the body’s DNA. And what are the potential risks to humans and livestock?
The truthful answer is we don’t yet know the long-term effects of mRNA injections in either humans or livestock.
… There is great concern that living cells excrete the mRNA over time and the mRNA can then be transferred to animals and humans that have never received the mRNA injection. It is believed, for example, that humans can contact mRNA by eating meat from livestock that have received the injection.
The reason mRNA is an issue today is that pharmaceutical firms have found that it takes very little of it to hijack a cell, and it can be produced cheaper than typical virus vaccines.”
mRNA Persists in the Body, Absorbed Through Stomach
Proponents have argued that mRNA is “removed by normal cellular mechanisms” and therefore wouldn’t be present in meat intended for consumption. Dr. Penny Riggs, associate research professor of functional genetics at Texas A&M, stated, “The estimate is that half of the mRNA from a vaccine is gone in about 20 hours, and completely destroyed within a few days.”5
But Thornsberry cited6 one study, published in Biomedicines, that found mRNA from injections can be detected in blood 15 days post-shot.7
Another study found “full-length or traces of SARS-CoV-2 spike mRNA vaccine sequences” in blood up to 28 days post-injection,8 while another revealed “abundant spike protein in GCs [germinal centers in lymph nodes] 16 days post-second dose, with spike antigen still present as late as 60 days post-second dose” of mRNA COVID-19 shots.9
As for whether mRNA could potentially be absorbed via the gastrointestinal tract, after consuming tainted meat, 2022 research demonstrated just that, finding “orally dosed milli-injector capsules enable nucleic acid delivery to swine stomachs.”10
The study, published in the journal Matter, further stated, “Evidence from small and large animal studies demonstrates that this form of administration enables both gastric and systemic uptake and transfection.”11 Other concerns raised by Thornsberry include mRNA shedding and gene editing. He told R-CALF:12
“A recent review paper13 written by Helene Banoun, a pharmacist biologist from France, raises alarms about the shedding of COVID-19 coded mRNA from vaccinated to unvaccinated close associates. Banoun is quoted as stating, ‘Vaccine mRNA-carrying lipid nanoparticles spread after injection throughout the body according to available animal studies and vaccine mRNA … is found in the bloodstream …’
Based on her findings, Banoun stated, ‘It is urgent to enforce the legislation on gene therapy that applies to mRNA vaccines and to carry out studies on this subject while the generalization of mRNA vaccines is being considered.’
… Swedish researchers published in Current Issues Molecular Biology14 … their findings that directly dispute the claim that mRNA injections do not enter the nucleus of the cell where our DNA (genetic material) is located.
While their study was performed utilizing liver cancer cells in culture, within 6 hours of exposing the liver cells to COVID-19 spike antigen coded mRNA, reverse transcription occurred, placing the mRNA carried genetic code into the nuclear DNA of the cells.”
Industry Attacks mRNA Shot Concerns as ‘Conspiracy Theories’
In response to R-CALF’s warnings, Drovers, “the nation’s oldest livestock publication,” published an article titled, ‘mRNA Conspiracy Theories: Ranch Group Offers ‘Fearmongering’ and ‘Misinformation.’15 It’s the same old story we saw throughout the pandemic. If it goes against the standard narrative, label it “misinformation” and try to discredit its source, via name-calling, reputation destruction or whatever means necessary.
Drovers cited Riggs, who called R-CALF’s press releases “fearmongering and misinformation” and stated, “No food safety risk exists for meat from animals that have received any vaccination” and “mRNA from a vaccine will NOT be passed along in meat.”16 In response, R-CALF wrote:17
“With so many unknowns, just how should a responsible ranch group respond amidst this ongoing battle between scientific experts regarding the short and long-term safety of mRNA injections for cattle?
Should we simply trust the pharmaceutical companies and the government as Riggs suggests when she advised that ‘we should be celebrating the advances in technology that enable more precise and effective strategies for ensuring animal health and well-being in order to continue producing the nutritious and safe meat, milk, and other animal source products that sustain life and good health’?
R-CALF USA disagrees. Instead, we intend to learn the truth by continuing to disclose differing scientific findings, seeking more research into the long-term effects of mRNA injections for cattle, and demanding more transparency from pharmaceutical companies and the government.”
mRNA Shots Already Used in Pigs — Cattle Are Likely Next
While the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association states “there are no current mRNA vaccines licensed for use in beef cattle in the United States,”18 the key missing word is “yet.” In October 2021, Iowa State University began a study on “Novel mRNA Vaccine Technology for Prevention of Bovine Respiratory Syncytial Virus,” with a project end date of September 30, 2026.19
“Our overall goal is to test a novel mRNA system for inducing immunological protection from bovine RSV infection,” the team explained. “… Here, we will optimize our vaccine further and then test for potential correlates of protection to examine for in eventually challenged cows.”20
So, while critics suggest it’s pointless to worry over mRNA in cattle, since no such shot has been approved, “It would be naïve not to assume that such a research project signals an effort to obtain approval for mRNA injections in U.S. cattle,” R-CALF noted.21
“It [mRNA] is being used in humans as a means of controlling COVID-19. It is also being used under limited conditions for swine. But it has not yet been approved in the United States for cattle,” R-CALF’s Bullard added.22
More Reasons to Avoid Eating Pork
However, the first RNA-based livestock vaccine, a swine influenza (H3N2) RNA shot developed by Harrisvaccines was licensed in 2012.23 The company followed up with an avian influenza mRNA shot in 2015.24 Harrisvaccines was acquired by Merck Animal Health later that year.25
Further, since 2018, pork producers have been using customizable mRNA-based “vaccines” on their herds — and this has slipped completely under the radar.26 This issue really only rose to the surface after attorney Tom Renz started promoting new legislation in Missouri (House Bill 1169,27 which he helped write) that would require labeling of mRNA products.28 In an April 1, 2023, tweet that was, unfortunately, not an April Fool’s joke, Renz stated:29
“BREAKING NEWS: the lobbyists for the cattleman and pork associations in several states have CONFIRMED they WILL be using mRNA vaccines in pigs and cows THIS MONTH. WE MUST SUPPORT MISSOURI HB1169. It is LITERALLY the ONLY chance we have to prevent this … NO ONE knows the impacts of doing this but we are all potentially facing the risk of being a #DiedSuddenly if we don’t stop this.”
The pushback by industry against this bill has been enormous, which should tell you something. It doesn’t ban anything; it only requires transparency. That, apparently, is a serious threat to industry, and the most obvious reason for that is because they’d have to admit that all sorts of foods can have gene altering effects.
In the meantime, I recommend avoiding all pork products, including organic ones, as they not only have high levels of the omega-6 fat, linoleic acid, because of the grains they are fed, but virtually all have been contaminated with the mRNA vaccines for the past five years.
Calls for Mandatory Country of Origin Labeling
In addition to calling for support of HB1169, R-CALF is calling for mandatory country of origin labels — under the American Beef Labeling Act, S.52, so consumers know where the beef they’re eating came from.
“We understand that mRNA is in use or about to be in use in cattle in foreign countries, Australia, New Zealand and China have been mentioned. We understand that China is injecting mRNA coded for the spike protein in the COVID-19 virus into dairy cows for the purpose of exposing consumers of dairy products to the mRNA,” Bullard said.30 He further explained:31
“Even though the United States has not approved mRNA injections in cattle, if we import beef from countries where such injections are allowed, then it’s possible that the meat from those animals are making their way into U.S. grocery stores. But people have no way of knowing where the meat was produced because Congress repealed the law that once required country of origin labels on all beef sold in grocery stores.
This is why people should contact their congressional delegations to urge them to enact mandatory country of origin labeling, or MCOOL, so they can begin choosing whether to purchase beef from a foreign country where mRNA injections are being given to cattle and other livestock. Only with mandatory country of origin labeling can consumers distinguish from which country their beef was produced.”