- An anti-vax blogger went viral after she shared a video licking grocery store surfaces.
- The blogger was previously known for claiming to have cured her son’s autism diagnosis.
- The video echoes a growing trend of germ-theory denialism.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A blogger with a history of promoting medical misinformation and questioning vaccines went viral for licking items in a grocery store, falsely claiming that it would fortify her “immune system.”
The 20-second clip, which was originally posted on Instagram, appeared to show a maskless Jodie Meschuk going around a supermarket and licking various items, including the plastic wrap used to carry produce, a handle to open a freezer door, and the handle of her shopping cart.
During the video, Meschuk, who runs the blog “Speak Up Butter Cup,” overlaid the video with several misleading medical claims.
For example, Meschuk said exposure to germs “builds defenses against asthma and allergies.” However, research has shown that exposure to bacteria is only beneficial in preventing asthma or allergies if it’s exposure to good bacteria, as reported by the BBC.
Licking random items in a grocery store may lead you to consume dangerous pathogens, which can lead to a host of diseases, such as pneumonia, strep throat, and food poisoning, according to Healthline.
Toward the end of the clip, Meschuk overlaid the message “terrain baby,” which appeared to be a reference to terrain theory, promoted by the French scientist Antoine Béchamp, a leading anti-germ-theorist.
The terrain theory alleges in part that all germs – including dangerous pathogens – are a healthy, natural part of life and that illness arises from an imbalance in the body, according to an article published on The Conversation by Caitjan Gainty, a medicine and technology historian at King’s College London.
According to ArsTechnica, anti-germ thought has experienced a renaissance since the pandemic began, with a prominent anti-germ theory Facebook group catapulting from nearly 150 members in April 2020 to 15,000 members after one year.
Germ theory deniers vary in their beliefs, ranging from people who believe germs do not exist to “softer” denialism of how impactful germs are in inflicting disease, Gainty wrote.
Meschuk shared the supermarket video to her Instagram account with 17,000 followers, the Daily Mail reported, before the account was taken down. Instagram deactivated her account after the incident for violating the platform’s policies on COVID and vaccine misinformation, a Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Insider.
The clip has drawn sharp criticism online and became a top post of the week on one Reddit page where it amassed over 17,000 upvotes.
Meschuk was previously known for having claimed she cured her son’s alleged autism diagnosis, which she suggested in a blog post was caused by a vaccine. The false notion that vaccines are linked to autism has been proven a false myth resting on flawed science. It was first promoted in the early 90s by the disgraced researcher Andrew Wakefield, whose studies were later retracted and he was stripped of his license.
Meschuk did not respond to a request for comment.
Since the pandemic began, there have been several cases of supermarket licking or tampering with products, including a situation in April 2020 where a woman was accused by police of licking $1,800 of grocery items, Insider reported.