Irradiated Food Fight

| February 25, 2002

Irradiated Food Fight, Chrisanne Beckner, Sacramento News and Review
Applying radiation to ready-to-eat foods and seafood is currently under consideration by the FDA, while irradiated beef, poultry, pork, eggs, fruits, vegetables, and spices have all been approved. Chrisanne Beckner explores both sides of the issue in the Sacramento News and Review, a regional weekly publication. 'Our inherant mistrust of radiation has made it easy for critics of irradiated food technology to greatly influence public opinion,' she writes. Although little solid proof exists to suggest that food radiation is harmful, Beckner notes, fears of birth defects, cancer, radioactive leaks, and unsanitary food processing have left the public suspicious of any food bearing the radura symbol, which airradiated food is currently required to print on the label. And consumers should be leery, say opponents such as Ralph Nader's consumer rights organization, Public Citizen, which claims that irradiated food contains new chemicals that may have unknown long-term effects and that the process of radiation destroys the vitamins in the food--not to mention further adding to the globalization of food production. Beckner states that proponents liken the process to pasteurization and believe that the public will pay extra for the opportunity to eat without fear of food-borne illnesses.
--Maria Opitz
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