Thursday, June 28, 2012

New Pig Vaccine to Prevent Cooking Odor by Creating Autoimmune Disease

Gaia Health
by Heidi Stevenson

The FDA and Pfizer avoided the issues of health and safety by simply declaring that there weren’t any. As a result, pork meat from vaccine-castrated pigs has never been tested for safety, nor has the health status of those pigs been considered.

Autoimmune diseases are something we all want to avoid, so why has Pfizer created a vaccine whose purpose is to create precisely that?

It seems that the odor of male pig meat is offensive to most people. Therefore, male pigs destined for the dinner plate are castrated. That is, of course, an inhumane procedure, especially as it’s generally done without anesthetics. Nonetheless, the implications of a vaccine whose purpose is to do the same thing need to be addressed. As we’ll see, the FDA and, of course, Pfizer, avoided the issues by simply declaring that there weren’t any. As a result, pork meat from vaccine-castrated pigs has never been tested for safety, nor has the health status of those pigs been considered.

What the Vaccine Does

Called Improvest by Pfizer, the vaccine’s technical name is Gonadotropin Releasing Factor Analog - Diphtheria Toxoid conjugate (GnRF analog-DT conjugate). It is given twice, when the pig is at least 9 weeks of age and again at least 4 weeks later. The first dose, according to Pfizer, “primes the pig’s immune system”(1). The second dose, again according to Pfizer, “creates the effective immune response”, as shown in the graph.

The result is effective castration by creating an immune response against gonadotropin releasing factor analog (GRFA), a hormone that’s required for maturation. It’s also known to be associated with releasing growth hormones. The full range of its effects is not known, but it is known to be produced in neural cells and is found in organs where its function is unknown.

No Testing for Safety in Pigs or Humans

In approving Improvest, the FDA had absolutely no concern for the welfare of the pigs. Whether it caused discomfort or pain was never a consideration. This is bad enough, because it indicates that animal welfare is of absolutely no concern to the FDA. However, the same is also true of human welfare. Here are areas of human health that the FDA opted not to look into, with quotes from the FDA document, “FREEDOM OF INFORMATION SUMMARY – SUPPLEMENTAL NEW ANIMAL DRUG APPLICATION. IMPROVEST”:

Microbial Food Safety: “The Agency has determined that an assessment of the microbial food safety for the use of IMPROVEST in intact boars pursuant to this supplemental approval (extension of the slaughter interval following injection of the second dose of IMPROVEST) was not necessary.”

Impact of Residues on Human Intestinal Flora: “The Agency has determined that an assessment of the impact of IMPROVEST on human intestinal flora pursuant to the conditions of this supplemental approval (extension of the slaughter interval following injection of the second dose of IMPROVEST) was not necessary.”

Toxicology: “CVM did not require toxicology studies for this supplemental approval.” [Note: CVM is the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine".]

Assignment of the Final ADI: “No reassessment of the toxicological ADI or toxicological ASDI was needed for this supplemental approval.”

Safe Concentrations for Total Residues (edible tissues and injection sites): “No reassessment of the safe concentrations for total residues was needed for this supplemental approval.”

Residue Chemistry: “CVM did not require residue chemistry studies for this supplemental approval.”

Clearly, the FDA simply decided that meat from pigs given Improvest is safe to eat without testing whether it is. They showed the same amount of concern for the health and comfort of the pigs: “CVM did not require target animal safety studies for this supplemental approval.”

The only testing was for Improvest’s ability to remove the odor from male pig meat.

This utter lack of concern for potential harmful effects of Improvest comes in the face of knowledge that the total range of effects of the substance that it makes the immune system target, GRFA, is unknown. How can they possibly presume safety in such a circumstance?

Where the Vaccine Is Used

The simple answer to where this new vaccine is used is everywhere. At least 60 countries have approved it, including the European Union, Australia, and Japan. It goes by the name of Improvac outside the United States.

Dishonesty in Selling Improvest

As ever, the public is misled about the effects of a pharmaceutical product. People are rapidly becoming aware that it’s dangerous to play with hormones. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) proved to cause the very conditions it was supposed to prevent. Steroids are known to be dangerous and some are illegal for use as body-building enhancers. So, naturally, this vaccine that acts by turning the body’s immune system against a substance required for releasing hormones is of concern.

The way that Pfizer deals with this concern is through sleight of hand. In “Keeping Pork Delicious”(3), Pfizer asks the misleading question: “Is Improvest a hormone?” The answer to that is, of course, no. Improvest is a vaccine, and the vaccine does not contain a hormone, nor does it cause an autoimmune response against a hormone.

That leaves the reader with a completely misleading impression about how Improvest functions. No, it isn’t a hormone, but it has a dramatic effect on hormones by creating an autoimmune response against GRFA, which is required to release certain hormones.

They also claim that no residue is left in the meat, but interestingly, they don’t cite their own studies. Instead, they state, “There are no residues in the meat from IMPROVEST that could affect human health, according to the FDA.” [Note: Emphasis is Pfizer's.] However, as noted in the list above, there was no testing done to determine if there were residues, microbes, or impacts on intestinal flora in humans. Therefore, we quite literally do not know the truth.

However, Pfizer has freed itself of liability by pointing a finger at the FDA, the agency that is supposed to look out for our welfare in the face of new pharmaceutical products, but quite clearly has completely abdicated any responsibility in the case of Improvest.


It would, of course, be helpful to know when we’re buying pork from pigs that are given this vaccine. Of course, that’s a futile wish. No such labeling is done. Therefore, if you hope to protect yourself from any potential harm, you have two choices. You may simply not eat pork, or you must eat only pork that is organic, preferably from sources that you know and trust.

This is simply another example that the food supply has been coopted by multinational corporate interests for the sole purpose of profit. The health effects on humans and the welfare of animals is of no concern, and Agribusiness’s wholly owned agencies, such as the FDA, now work for them—not for us.

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