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Social media posts claim the chicken and beef were injected with prion proteins, nanoparticles or other materials that make them stick to fridge magnets. But the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) says its surveillance measures protect against metal contamination, while experts add prions could not be responsible and nanoparticles are not added to meat.
“Don’t go to the store without your magnet”, says a June 14, 2021 Facebook post.
In the video, a man sticks a small round magnet on the outside of a package of chicken. He said, “They just put little prayers here,” suggesting that the let’s pray — a infectious protein – cause magnetic effects.
Several articles making similar claims on a variety of packaged and unpackaged poultry and meat products are also Instagram, where the most popular iteration exceeded 40,000 views. Videos on Youtube and TIC Tac, as good as compilation videos, have further extended the claim.
It comes after a series of false and misleading claims that have linked Covid-19 vaccinations to widespread magnetism around the world. These included a hoax, allegedly shown in videos, that people’s arms exhibit magnetic properties after being shot.
Other articles claim for various reasons why magnets can stick to meat. One said, “they put magnetic nanoparticles (sic) in our meat”, while another claims “they put toxic heavy metals in our food supply.”
Mick West, an Anglo-American science writer, published a video on Metabunk.org, a website dedicated to debunking pseudoscience, demonstrating that magnets, coins, or other smooth objects will stick to various parts of the body, if the skin is slightly oily. “Remove the oil and the object will not stick,” he explains.
For similar reasons, magnets can stick to meat and poultry “due to the texture, angle or moisture of the product,” USDA told AFP.
“However, that doesn’t mean there is metal in meat or poultry. All meat and poultry products bearing the USDA inspection mark have been inspected for safety, suitability and accurate labeling, ”a USDA spokesperson said on June 21, 2021.
The spokesperson added that all establishments inspected by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service are required to have a system “designed to prevent, eliminate or reduce to acceptable levels any biological, chemical or physical hazard that is reasonably likely to occur in the product”.
As a result, it is unlikely that an undetected piece of metal could contaminate meat products, the spokesperson said, with many establishments going so far as to “install metal detectors and / or x-ray machines to check their final products in order to avoid any accident / unexpected presence of metal (planing or broken part) ”.
FSIS staff also carry out regular inspections.
As for the social media claim that prions could be a magnetic component found in meat, “this suggested hypothesis has no scientific basis,” the USDA spokesperson said, adding: “These are organic matter. More precisely, they are misfolded proteins. Hence, they would lack any sort of magnetic quality.
Prions are associated with meat through the most well-known prion disease, BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) – also called mad cow disease – which affects livestock and is believed to be linked to variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.
Dr James Mastrianni, professor of neurology at the University of Medicine of Chicago, told AFP on June 17, 2021: “There is some association of prions in meat, but these come from sick cows inadvertently used in the preparation. foods of bovine origin. They were never intentionally injected into meat, but how could anyone disprove such a crazy hypothesis?
“Even though they were injected into meat, they are not magnetic and certainly could not perform the magical act of sticking a magnet on them.”
Some claims suggest that the phenomenon is caused by nanoparticles – tiny materials invisible to the eye which can be of various types.
Iron is a natural component beef and other meats, but Jaydee hanson, political director of the Center for Food Safety, an activist group, told AFP on June 21, 2021: Most fridge magnets are also sensitive.
“As far as I know, no nano ingredients are added to meats in the United States.”