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All food animals, whether they’re from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)—the source of about 99% of animal foods in America—or whether they are grass-fed, organically raised, free-range, or “regeneratively” raised animals on “happy farms,” are killed in the same slaughterhouses. There are no “happy slaughterhouses” devoted just to the “happy cows” from the “happy farms.”

When you slice open a dead animal, the guts pour out. So every surface in a slaughterhouse is contaminated with E coli, salmonella, campylobacter, and all kinds of harmful, even deadly, bacteria from the feces of the slaughtered animal. In the meat cases in your local grocery store, the cuts of meat are exposed to ultraviolet light in order to kill the bacteria and parasites. Grocery stores don’t need to do that with berries, grapes, or apples, naturally, because fruits and other plant foods aren’t teeming with harmful organisms, but they have to do it with sirloin steaks. The meat-eating consumer can hope that the ultraviolet light works and kills all the harmful bacteria, but even if not, the meat-eater has a back-up plan: the heat from cooking the meat will surely kill the bacteria. Regrettably, though, it’s often the case that cooking protects the meat-eater from bacterial harm only after the raw meat infects cutting boards and other surfaces all over the kitchen. Still, meat-eaters who painstakingly scrub their kitchen surfaces and implements think they can relax, as they know that cooking on high heat will kill the bacteria in the red meat, chicken, or fish they consume. They are right about that, although the same process of cooking also oxidizes the cholesterol in the flesh; oxidized LDL cholesterol builds up in the artery walls, creating atherosclerosis—a disease that only humans, of all mammals, suffers, as we are the only mammal that eats foods we are not designed to eat.

At least the meat-eater has escaped harm from the bacterial toxins, though, right? Wrong. These toxins turn into endotoxins. Endotoxins are the main component of the outer membrane of the cell wall of Gram-negative bacteria. (Gram-negative bacteria are defined as “bacteria that do not retain the crystal violet stain used in the Gram staining method of bacterial differentiation.”)1 Endotoxins are heat-stable; you can’t cook them out.

Endoxemia is defined as the presence of endotoxins in the bloodstream. Is endotoxemia dangerous? A study on endotoxemia in human septic shock stated: “We conclude that endotoxemia occurs frequently in septic shock and is associated with severe manifestations of this syndrome, including cardiac depression and multiple organ failure. This study suggests that endotoxin is an important mediator of septic shock and supports efforts to develop anti-endotoxin therapies for treating patients with this disease.”2 If a person comes into the ER with a terrible infection, that patient is given antibiotics. The antibiotics kill the bacteria, but that may result in the release of endotoxins and consequent endotoxemia. “Higher doses of endotoxin induce sepsis and septic shock, which has a fatal outcome in > 50% of cases.”3

Dr. Michael Greger explains in his video “The Role of Endotoxins in Alzheimer’s and Dementia,” that endotoxins also build up in the memory center of the brain, creating the risk of cognitive decline.

Meat-eaters think they can relax because they kill all the bacteria in their food with cooking, but in reality they’re giving themselves a dose of endotoxins three times a day.

You see, you can kill a chicken, pig, sheep, or cow in a slaughterhouse, or you can pluck a fish out of a river or ocean, but when you eat it, the dead animal comes back for revenge.


3. Adamik B, Smiechowicz J, Kübler A. The importance of early detection of endotoxemia. Innate Immunity. 2016;22(7):503-509.doi:10.1177/1753425916660177



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