Massie: Ominbus Spending Bill Funds Edible Plant Vaccine Research

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) is warning that the new Omnibus spending bill will fund research into reckless and irresponsible transgenic edible plant “vaccine” research if passed later this week.

Researchers at the University of California-Riverside (UCR) have been studying whether they can turn edible plants, such as lettuce, bananas or potatoes into delivery vehicles for mRNA gene therapies.

One of the challenges with the mRNA shots is that it must be kept at freezing temperatures to maintain stability during transport and storage. “If this new project is successful, plant-based mRNA vaccines — which can be eaten — could overcome this challenge with the ability to be stored at room temperature,” UC Riverside News reported in September of 2021.

The project was made possible by a $500,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, an independent agency of the United States federal government that supports  research and education in the non-medical fields of science and engineering.

According to UC Riverside, the research has three goals: “showing that DNA containing the mRNA vaccines can be successfully delivered into the part of plant cells where it will replicate, demonstrating the plants can produce enough mRNA to rival a traditional shot, and finally, determining the right dosage.”

Massie alerted the public about the project’s funding last year, and introduced an amendment that would defund the research.

The House voted to stop funding transgenic edible plant vaccine research last September, but according to Massie, that “prohibition was left out of the new omnibus.”

In an interview with the Defender last September, Massie said he was concerned “that plants cross-pollinate and pollen from these modified plants, food-producing plants, could carry in the wind to other fields and contaminate them. And we could really contaminate a lot of our food supply with unknown doses of vaccines that would deliver unknown dosages.”

Massie added: “Plants release pollen and it can go anywhere with the wind or with insects, and I just think it’s a bad idea.”

“Rep. Massie is right to be concerned,” Claire Robinson, managing editor of GMWatch, told The Defender. “Genetically engineering a potent immunogen into food plants is irresponsible in the extreme.” She added:

All the usual risks of GM [genetically modified] plants — the DNA-damaging effects of the GM transformation process leads to changes in gene expression and biochemistry of the plant, which can include the production of toxins or allergens — apply to these vaccine-producing plants, with additional risks on top.

In the case of vaccine-producing plants, you are intentionally engineering a plant to elicit an immune reaction. This increases the level of risk exponentially.

Either they don’t work, or they are not safe, or both.

The 1,050-page omnibus is a package of six bills dealing with agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA); the Departments of Justice and Commerce; Energy and Water Development; the Department of the Interior; and Transportation and housing.  Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) reached a deal to fund those departments and agencies as they were set to expire on Friday.

“So your taxpayer dollars will be funding edible plant vaccines, if the enormous spending bill passes this week. Not good!” said Massie on X.


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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) walks off the floor after the House of Representatives failed to elect a new Speaker of the House on the first round of votes at the U.S. Capitol Building on October 17, 2023 in Washington, DC. The House has been without an elected leader since Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was ousted from the speakership on October 4 in an move led by a small group of conservative members of his own party. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)