Posted by: Didapper PJ4 JUN 2009
Traditionally, pâté de foie gras is produced by force-feeding geese with large quantities of corn to produce enlarged livers — a procedure so stressful for the birds that it has been banned in many countries.
Because of the inhumane nature of the production method, I have long suspected that one must be brain-damaged to enjoy foie gras. And now, research in the US has shown that eating the delicacy may not just indicate brain damage — it may be a cause of it.
Stressed birds may suffer a chronic inflammatory response leading to the deposition of protein-like amyloid fibrils in various organs. The amyloids are not destroyed in cooking, even at high temperatures, and when rats and mice are fed affected meat the amyloids are deposited in their organs.
The researchers suggest that force-fed birds could represent a new health risk. Deposition of amyloids in the human brain might lead to a biochemical mechanism akin to the replication of similar protein fragments in Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, scrapie and bovine spongiform encephalopathy. And damage to the pancreas might result in type II diabetes.