An anti-vaxx blogger went viral and drew sharp backlash after sharing a video where she appeared to lick supermarket surfaces.
  • An anti-vaxx blogger went viral after she shared a video in which she is licking grocery store surfaces.
  • The blogger is known for claiming to have cured her son's alleged autism.
  • The video echoes a growing trend of germ-theory denialism.
  • Visit Business 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, including that exposure to germs "builds defenses against asthma and allergies."

According to an article published on The Conversation by Caitjan Gainty, a medicine and technology historian and a senior lecturer at King's College London, research has shown that exposure to certain bacteria can be beneficial in preventing asthma or allergies, but only if it's exposure to "good" bacteria, like "biodiverse environments" full of a range of "bacteria, fungi and other bugs."

Otherwise, "good hygiene practices" like hand washing are integral for reducing the spread of dangerous diseases like Covid-19.

Meschuk's misleading claims echo a growing anti-germ-theory movement, which denies scientific facts and promotes fringe, false medical claims.

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 can vary in their beliefs, Gainty wrote in The Conversation, ranging from people who believe germs do not exist to "softer" denialism of how impactful germs are in inflicting disease.

Toward the end of the clip, Meschuk overlaid the message "terrain baby," which appeared to be a reference to the French scientist Antoine Béchamp's terrain theory, a leading concept among germ-theory detractors. The terrain theory alleges in part that germs are a healthy, natural part of life and that illness arises from an imbalance in the body, Gainty reported.

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.

In addition to germ denialism, Meschuk is known for having claimed she cured her son's alleged autism diagnosis, which she suggested in a blog post was caused by a vaccine. According to the healthcare nonprofit Mayo Clinic, there is no cure for autism spectrum disorder, although certain treatments can help "maximize" a child's "ability to function" by reducing their symptoms.

Meschuk, who did not respond to a request for comment, has also spread misinformation related to vaccines and the pandemic.

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.

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