- 1. In legalizing food irradiation, the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration (FDA) did not determine a level of radiation to which
food can be exposed and still be safe for human consumption, which federal
law requires. I, II
- 2. In legalizing food irradiation, the FDA relied on
laboratory research that did not meet modern scientific protocols, which
federal law requires.I, IV
- 3. Research dating to the 1950s has revealed a wide range
of problems in animals that ate irradiated food, including premature death,
a rare form of cancer, reproductive dysfunction, chromosomal abnormalities,
liver damage, low weight gain and vitamin deficiencies. V, VI, VII, VIII
- 4. Irradiation masks and encourages filthy conditions
in slaughterhouses and food processing plants.IX, X Irradiation can kill
most bacteria in food, but it does nothing to remove the feces, urine,
pus and vomit that often contaminates beef, pork, chicken and other meat.
Irradiation will not kill the pathogen that causes mad cow disease.
- 5. Irradiation destroys vitamins, essential fatty acids
and other nutrients in food-- sometimes significantly. The process destroys
80 percent of vitamin A in eggs and 48 percent of beta carotene in orange
juice, but the FDA nonetheless legalized irradiation of these products.
- 6. Irradiation can change the flavor, odor and texture
of food-- sometimes disgustingly so. Pork can turn red; beef can smell
like a wet dog; fruit and vegetables can become mushy; and eggs can lose
their color, become runny and ruin recipes. XIII, XIV, XV
- 7. Irradiation disrupts the chemical composition of everything
in its path-- not just harmful bacteria, which the food industry often
asserts. Scores of new chemicals called "radiolytic products"
are formed by irradiation-- chemicals that do not naturally occur in food
and that the FDA has never studied for safety. XVI, XVII
- 8. The World Health Organization did not follow its own
recommendation to study the toxicity of "radiolytic products"
formed in high-dose irradiated food before proposing in November 2000 that
the international irradiation dose limit-- equal to 330 million chest x-rays--
be removed. XVIII, XIX
- 9. Soon, some irradiation plants may use cesium-137,
a highly radioactive waste material left over from the production of nuclear
weapons. This material is dangerous and unstable. In 1988, a cesium-137
leak near Atlanta led to a $30 million, taxpayer-funded cleanup. XX
- 10. Because it increases the shelf life of food and is
used in large, centralized facilities, irradiation encourages globalization
and consolidation of the food production, distribution and retailing industries.
These trends have already forced multitudes of family farmers and ranchers
out of business, reduced the diversity of products in the marketplace,
disrupted local economies in developing nations, and put American farmers
and ranchers at a great economic disadvantage. XXI
- I. U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, ß
- II. Federal Register, various filings, 1983-2000.
- III. U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, ß
- IV. Federal Register, various filings, 1983-2000.
- V. A Broken Record: How the FDA Legalized-- and Continues
to Legalize-- Food Irradiation Without Testing it for Safety. Washington,
D.C.: Public Citizen, Cancer Prevention Coalition, Global Resource Action
Center for the Environment, Oct. 2000.
- VI. Kesavan, P.C., Swaminathan, M.S. "Cytotoxic
and mutagenic effects of irradiated substrates and food material."
Radiation Botany, 11:253-181, 1971.
- VII. Schubert, J. "Mutagenicity and cytotoxicity
of irradiated foods and food components." Bulletin of the World Health
Organization, 41:873-904, 1969.
- VIII. Spiher, A.T. "Food Irradiation: An FDA Report."
FDA Papers, Oct. 1968.
- IX. Nestor, F. and Hauter, W. The Jungle 2000: Is
Americaís Meat Fit to Eat? Washington, D.C.: Government Accountability
Project, Public Citizen, Sept. 2000.
- X. Piccioni, R. "Food irradiation: Contaminating
our food." The Ecologist, 18:2:48-55.
- XI. FDA Memorandum, from Kim Morehouse, Ph.D. to William
Trotter, Ph.D. April 11, 2000.
- XII. FDA Memorandum, from Antonio Mattia, Ph.D. to
William Trotter, Ph.D. Nov. 2, 1999.
- XIII. Webb, T. et al. Food Irradiation: Who Wants It?
Rochester, Vermont: Thorsons Publishers, 1987.
- XIV. Huang, S. et al. "Effect of electron beam
irradiation on physical, physicochemical and functional properties of liquid
egg during frozen storage." Poultry Science, 76:1607-15, 1997.
- XV. Wong, Y.C. et al. "Comparison between irradiated
and thermally pasteurized liquid egg white on functional, physical and
microbiological properties." Poultry Science, 75:803-808, 1996.
- XVI. Murray, D. Biology of Food Irradiation. Somerset,
England: Research Studies Press Ltd., 1990.
- XVII. Op. cit. Note 5.
- XVIII.International Consulative Group on Food Irradiation:
Review of Data on High Dose (10-70 kGy) Irradiation of Food. Report of
a Consulation, Karlsruhe, 29 August - 2 September 1994. Geneva: World Health
- XIX. High-Dose Irradiation: Wholesomeness of Food Irradiated
with Doses Above 10 kGy. Report of a Joint FAO/IAEA/WHO Study Group. Technical
Report Series 890. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1999.
- XX. Last radioactive capsules taken from DeKalb plant."
Macon Telegraph, Nov. 20, 1990.
- XXI. A Citizenís Guide to Fighting Food Irradiation.
Washington, D.C.: Public Citizenís Critical Mass Energy and Environment
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