According to www.organicconsumers.org, "Since 1983, the FDA has legalized the irradiation of numerous classes of food, including beef, poultry, pork, lamb, fruit, vegetables, eggs, juice and spices ? at the equivalent radiation dose ranging from 33 million to 1 billion chest X-rays." Much of this irradiation is being done with cobalt 60 a by-product of uranium and an end-product of nuclear reactors. |
The government line calls food irradiation "a promising new food safety technology that can eliminate disease-causing germs from foods." They assure us that the food does not become radioactive or fraught with dangerous substances and that the nutritional value of the food is essentially unchanged.
However, Public Citizen says that irradiation destroys vitamins and other nutrients, forms chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer and birth defects, and masks unhygienic food production practices. Instead of this shortsighted quick-fix, we are encouraging the food industry and government regulators to institute comprehensive solutions in response to food safety challenges.
The FDA says "the effects of irradiation on the food and on animals and people eating irradiated food have been studied extensively." But, citizen.org alleges, "the FDA has relied on decades-old tests that do not meet current scientific protocols designed to determine whether irradiated food could be toxic, or cause mutations or reproductive problems in the people who eat it."
A distinctive logo called the "radura" is supposed to indicate food is irradiated but is not required to identify "minor ingredients" that have been irradiated. And, produce grown from irradiated seeds do not have to be labeled unless the produce is irradiated. Fast food purveyors do not have to label irradiated foods. Nor do you need to know about those papaya slices in your fruit salad.
Even those who carefully choose organic food should be concerned about the implications of food irradiation: increased centralization/globalization of food production, more control over our own food by organizations like the WTO... Reasons we should care about irradiation
Find out which companies are currently or will soon be selling irradiated products.
More information on irradiation:
Public Citizen - Food Irradiation
Center for Disease Control