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Make mine without the viruses

September 11, 2006

I woke up this morning to the horrific report about viruses being sprayed on my food ["Latest Food Additive: Viruses," Aug. 28]. I lost my appetite. Sure, food industry scientists are thrilled with the prospect of their foul foods lasting longer on the shelf. But I don't want weird organisms deliberately introduced into my food. Today they say it's safe; tomorrow they'll discover side effects, allergic reactions or worse -- and who knows what long-term effects may be.

STEPHANY YABLOWNorth Hollywood

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The addition of bacteria-killing viruses to meat is a stopgap measure typical of the meat industry. Instead of cleaning up its act, the industry has tried irradiating meat and chemically de-hairing manure-encrusted hides ... to try to eliminate the fecal bacteria that causes food poisoning. Fecal contamination that is exposed to radiation, sprayed with virus or properly cooked may be less dangerous, but our families deserve better.

DR. MICHAEL GREGER

Director, Public Health and Animal Agriculture

Humane Society of the U.S.

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The use of live viruses to attack unfriendly bacteria may seem counterintuitive and weird to some, but Jonathan Swift memorialized the basic approach centuries ago in his couplet: "Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite them. And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum."

RICK SCOTT

Ventura

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