Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Bill Targeting mRNA Vaccines In Food

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Tennessee Lawmakers Pass Bill Targeting mRNA Vaccines In Food

Following concerns over research to embed vaccines in produce, the Tennessee Senate has passed a bill which would require any food containing vaccines or vaccine materials to be labeled as pharmaceutical drugs.

Lettuce grows under artificial lights on an automated growing rack at a farm in Nottingham, Maryland, on April 14, 2023.

The bill, HB 1894, was passed by the Senate in a 23-6 vote on March 28 after the state House passed it 73-22 on March 4. It awaits the governor’s signature.

The bill comes in response to a University of California-Riverside research project looking into whether mRNA which targets pathogens could be implanted into edible plants, which would then be consumed. The research was funded by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

You would have to get a prescription for that to make sure that we know how much of the lettuce you have to eat based off of your body type so we don’t under-vaccinate you, which leads to the possibility of the efficacy of the drug being compromised, or we overdose you based off how much lettuce is [eaten],” said Republican state Rep. Scott Cepicky during a House committee meeting in February, WKRN-TV reports.

Cepicky said that the bill, which local media described as a move targeting “vaccine lettuce,” would classify foods modified to act as vaccines, as pharmaceuticals.

“So if you want to consume them you would go to your doctor and get a prescription,” he said.

In a 2021 press release, UC Riverside associate professor of Botany and Plant Sciences, Juan Pablo, said “We are testing this approach with spinach and lettuce and have long-term goals of people growing it in their own gardens,” adding “Farmers could also eventually grow entire fields of it.”

According to Pablo, “Ideally, a single plant would produce enough mRNA to vaccinate a single person.

Another researcher, Nicole Steinmetz, said in the same release that they planned to use nanoparticles or “plant viruses, for gene delivery to plants.”

When asked by WKRN-TV about the status of the research, a UC Riverside spokesperson said that the project is not yet complete.

“Research into the process of having plant chloroplasts express vaccine chemistry is ongoing. There are no definitive results to report,” said Jules Berinstein after the Tennessee bill was passed.

Democrat Senators oppose

During the debate on the Tennessee Senate Floor, some lawmakers questioned the need for the bill.

“Does the sponsor know of any instances of there being food offered in the state of Tennessee that contains vaccines in some kind of a retail or public forum?” asked state Sen. Heidi Campbell.

Rep. Cepicky hit back, highlighting in February that a Kentucky company has already been “infecting growing tobacco plants with a genetically modified coronavirus” to see if it can produce antibodies for a potential vaccine, adding that the company “can already do this right now.”

Massie sounds the alarm

In 2023, US Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) raised concerns over the use of federal money to create “transgenic edible vaccines,” which would transform edible plants such as spinach and lettuce into mRNA vaccine delivery vehicles.

Rep. Massie: “I Think It’s Dangerous to Play God with Our Food” 9/27/2023
There’s a push to create edible vaccines—food products like tomatoes, lettuce, or milk that are genetically modified to have the effects of a vaccination when someone consumes them.
Rep. Thomas Massie… pic.twitter.com/saA0JxZQfB

— Camus (@newstart_2024) March 6, 2024

In September 2023 during a debate over an appropriations bill, Massie highlighted an incident in which an edible vaccine was introduced into a corn crop used to feed pigs in order to mitigate diarrhea. The corn crop, however, became commingled with a soybean crop – contaminating 500,000 bushels that had to be recalled.

“Do we want humans eating vaccines that were grown in corn meant to stop pigs from getting diarrhea? I don’t think we want that to happen. Yet that almost happened, and it could happen,” said Massie. “There is another case where the pollen cross-contaminated another crop of corn, and 155 acres of corn had to be burned. What are the cases where we’re not discovering this? I think it’s dangerous to play God with our food.”

Tyler Durden
Tue, 04/02/2024 – 18:40