Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dosing Your Food with Radiation is just a Band-Aid for a Bigger Problem

Most consumers aren't aware of a ruling by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration on August 22, 2008 that "allows the use of irradiation to make fresh iceberg lettuce and fresh spinach safer and last longer without spoiling."
Although irradiation is still voluntary, opening the door to its greater use creates two BIG problems:
  1. Covering of unsanitary farming practices -- the talk of irradiation wouldn't even happen were it not for unsanitary farming practices that cause bacteria like E. coli to reach your food. By allowing irradiation, big-business, corporate-run farming does not have to clean up their unhealthy processes and, instead, continues unchecked while your food gets modified to suit their profit interests.
  2. Questionable benefits to consumers -- in fact, according to research by the Los Angeles Times "dosing food with gamma rays or electron beams can destroy vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and thiamine." Irradiation can also reduce the amount of Vitamin A and folate in the spinach. Since all of these potential nutrient reductions are invisible to the human eye, only the smart consumer who reads and understands labels will know the difference. And there is still no guarantee that irradiation will kill all the bacteria in your food. Food washing, even with irradiation, is still a must do.
Certainly food safety is important. After the last couple of years of produce scares and E. coli bacteria sicknesses, the public would want to make sure their food supply is safe. However, I would say that protection of big business, which is unethical for our government to do, plays a bigger part in this ruling than food safety.

When you buy food for your family, you will know if the food has been irradiated because it will contain the Radura logo (see green round logo to the right -->) AND the FDA requires one of these two statements: "Treated with radiation" or "Treated by irradiation."

I feel this is a slippery slope for our government to turn onto -- choosing to further chemicalize and alter our foods rather than clean up the source of the problem which is to require livestock and produce farming unsanitary practices be stopped.

If you would like the FDA to hear your concerns about food safety, you can e-mail or call the FDA by going to this link. You can also contact your state and federal representatives about your concerns -- type in your zip code here to find out who are those officials, and you can write them a letter online or call them. These are the issues you may wish to address:
  • You are concerned that the FDA is not taking action against unsanitary farming practices
  • You are against irradiation of food and would like there, instead, to be emphasis on clean farming
  • You would like livestock farms to be more regulated and uncrowded to improve the sanitary conditions that affect the health of the animals, the environment, and surrounding produce farms
  • You would like to see more government emphasis and incentives for organic farming of all kinds

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