- Note: The darkside of food irradiation
is well known to consumer advocates and health professionals. Below is
the mainstream media's story about it's long-feared approval. The irradiation
process uses deadly nuclear waste which will be trucked on U.S. roadways
to various locations arond the country and then placed directly into the
hands of corporate America...the private sector. The irradiation process
is so deadly a human would perish in 10-12 seconds if exposed to it. The
products being irradiated would be exposed for 30-40 minutes on average.
Among othere things, this exposure has been demonstrated to create dozens
of new, unknown molecular compounds in the food. Some of these compounds
have been identified as carcinogens but most don't even have names yet.
More to come...
- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. regulators Tuesday approved the use of
irradiation to kill food-borne bacteria in beef, lamb and pork amid worries
by consumer groups that the procedure may be oversold as a solution to
growing outbreaks of food contamination.
- After a record U.S. recall of 25 million
pounds of tainted hamburger in August, the meat and food industries lobbied
hard for Food and Drug Administration approval of tiny doses of gamma rays
or X-rays to kill bacteria and parasites in beef.
- Irradiation, first used by NASA to sterilize
food for astronauts, is widely used to control insects and disease in fruits,
vegetables, grains and spices. The FDA approved its use with poultry several
years ago, but it is rarely used.
- "Irradiation of meat could prove
to be another important tool to protect consumers from food-borne disease,"
said Michael Friedman, deputy FDA commissioner. "The process has been
shown to be safe and to significantly reduce bacterial contamination."
- After three years of study, the FDA concluded
that irradiation does not make meat radioactive, nor does it noticeably
change taste, texture or appearance.
- Consumers are not likely to find packages
of irradiated meat at their grocery stores any time soon.
- The U.S. Agriculture Department, which
has authority over meat inspections, must first modify its regulations
over the next few months to include irradiation. The agency hopes to complete
that process by mid-1998, a USDA spokeswoman said.
- Consumer groups contend that scientists
need to find better ways to treat food safety problems on the farm.
- "Irradiation is definitely being
oversold as a solution to food safety problems by the food industry,"
said Caroline Smith DeWaal of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
- "It isn't the right approach to
take a filthy product and irradiate it to make it sterile. We need to make
sure that the filth is removed earlier in the process," DeWaal said.
- Although the FDA review did not include
costs of the technology, experts have estimated irradiation could cost
consumers about five cents per pound. That would add about $2 per person
to annual grocery bills based on average consumption of about 33 pounds
- IBP Inc, the nation's largest beef processor,
plans to test irradiation's effect on the color and flavor of beef.
- "It will ultimately be up to the
consumer to determine if this is an acceptable process," an IBP spokesman
- Food industry groups welcomed the FDA
action. "In order to maintain the safest food supply in the world,
the beef industry needs the flexibility to use new technologies as they
become available," said Van Amundson of the National Cattlemen's Beef
- Even with irradiation, consumers must
cook meat thoroughly and use safe food-handling procedures, the USDA said.
- Steam pasteurization of beef, pulsed
light beamed onto meat and a sterilizing rinse for poultry are other procedures
that have been approved by regulators, but all kill only bacteria and germs
on the surface of the animal. Irradiation penetrates the meat to kill internal
parasites, and can be used after meat is packaged for shipment to grocery
- Some scientists are also investigating
potential inoculations of farm animals that could prevent them from carrying
E. coli that occurs normally in the intestinal tract.
- The public's growing nervousness about
outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella, cyclospora and other food-borne diseases
prompted the Clinton administration to launch a food safety initiative
that includes legislation to give USDA more authority over meat recalls,
adding inspectors to check domestic and imported produce and rolling out
mandatory safety programs at meat, poultry and seafood processing plants.
- More than 35 countries use irradiation,
which was approved earlier this year by the World Health Organization.
- The agency action came after Isomedix
Inc, a New Jersey maker of medical equipment, petitioned the agency in
1994 to approve irradiation of red meat. The company was acquired by Steris
Corp for $142 million in September.