VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Filipina vlogger spreads FALSE claims about blood, lab-grown meat

The blood of individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 is darker compared to unvaccinated individuals and laboratory-grown meat can cause cancer among humans.

Facebook user Lynn Channel 02/23/2024 False

The blood of people vaccinated against COVID-19 is not darker than those of unvaccinated people and laboratory-grown meat cannot cause cancer among humans.

A three-hour video containing erroneous statements on human blood and lab-grown meat was posted by a Filipina vlogger on Facebook.

The lengthy video posted on Feb. 23 claimed that:

  • The blood of individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 is darker compared to that of unvaccinated individuals; and 
  • Laboratory-grown meat can cause cancer among humans. 

VERA Files Fact Check has previously debunked the vlogger’s claims against wearing face masks and against COVID-19 vaccinations

The blood of individuals vaccinated against COVID-19 is darker compared to the blood of those who were not inoculated False 

“The blood of people who have received a COVID-19 vaccine is not visibly darker than the blood of vaccinated people,” experts from Meedan’s Health Desk said in 2021

The human blood takes its color [red] from a protein called hemoglobin, which transports oxygen throughout the body, the experts explained.

Red blood cells filled with oxygen are bright red while those that carry less oxygen are dark red, according to an Arizona State University article.

Blood can appear darker, or almost black, when it dries out, when it is from women’s menstruation, during the first six weeks of childbirth, and other reasons, the experts from Meedan added.

Reuters, Agence France Presse, and the Associated Press have debunked similar claims. 

Laboratory-grown meat can cause cancer among humans. False 

It is very unlikely for people to get cancer by eating meat produced by replicating animal cells in a laboratory, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. 

“We did not find any plausible evidence that cells used in cell-cultivated foods would cause cancer, “ the U.S. FDA told Vera Files Fact Check on March 1.

This claim is a misinterpretation of a quote in a 2023 Bloomberg article, which read in part: 

“To get the cell cultures to grow at rates big enough to power a business, several companies… are quietly using what are called immortalized cells, something most people have never eaten intentionally. Immortalized cells are… technically speaking, precancerous and can be, in some cases, fully cancerous.” 

“There’s no evidence that cancer has ever been passed/spread from ingesting cells — immortalized, cancerous, or not,” Elliot Swartz, a principal scientist of cultivated meat with the Good Food Institute, said on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

The Bloomberg article did reassure readers that humans cannot get cancer from eating lab-grown meat:  

“Because the cells aren’t human, it’s essentially impossible for people who eat them to get cancer from them, or for the precancerous or cancerous cells to replicate inside people at all.” 

The erroneous video garnered a total of 1,089 reactions, 2,000 comments, and 769 shares.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)