Thursday, August 21, 2008

FDA Allows Food Processors To Blast Your Lettuce With Radiation To Keep You 'Safe'

One more reason to grow your own!

See? You don't have to worry about filthy conditions in the fields or un-enforced health and labor codes in the processing plant - just nuke it!

I know, us organic gardeners are all 'nutty'. What does a tree-hugger (planter, tender and caretaker) know about radiation in food processing? Not much and I'd like to keep it that way if you know what I mean.

Since I'm just an ignoramus with my head stuck in the compost pile I went to another source for my info. Here's some information on exposing food to radiation from the Center for Food Safety:

What is Food Irradiation?
Food irradiation uses high-energy Gamma rays, electron beams, or X-rays (all of which are millions of times more powerful than standard medical X-rays) to break apart the bacteria and insects that can hide in meat, grains, and other foods. Radiation can do strange things to food, by creating substances called "unique radiolytic products." These irradiation byproducts include a variety of mutagens - substances that can cause gene mutations, polyploidy (an abnormal condition in which cells contain more than two sets of chromosomes), chromosome aberrations (often associated with cancerous cells), and dominant lethal mutations (a change in a cell that prevents it from reproducing) in human cells. Making matters worse, many mutagens are also carcinogens.
Research also shows that irradiation forms volatile toxic chemicals such as benzene and toluene, chemicals known or suspected to cause cancer and birth defects. Irradiation also causes stunted growth in lab animals fed irradiated foods. An important 2001 study linked colon tumor promotion in lab rats to 2-alkylcyclobutanones (2-ACB's), a new chemical compound found only in irradiated foods. The FDA has never tested the safety of these byproducts. Irradiation has also been shown to cause the low-level production of furans (similar to cancer-causing dioxins) in fruit juice.


About your nuked lettuce; CNN ran an AP fluff piece for you.
Although studies prove that food is changed during this process, it's not in the story. And anything that may upset you like the phrase 'free radicals' or the fact that NO LONG TERM STUDIES HAVE BEEN DONE ON IRRADIATED FOODS, are also left out of the 'story'. In fact, the story itself seems to have been 'irradiated for your (Big Ag's) protection'.

The AP reporter probably didn't have access to the internet or any other research tools when they copied their press release - oops, sorry, researched and wrote the story. Here's the gist:

FDA OKs zapping greens for safety [they make it sound so cute don't they?]

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The government will allow food producers to start zapping fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce with just enough radiation to kill E. coli and other dangerous germs, a key safety move amid increasing outbreaks from raw produce.

The FDA said irradiation doesn't compromise the safety or nutrient value of raw spinach and lettuce.

Irradiated meat has been around for years, particularly ground beef, a favorite hiding spot for E. coli. Spices also can be irradiated.
But there had long been concern that zapping leafy greens with X-rays or other means of radiation would leave them limp. Not so with today's modern techniques.
The Food and Drug Administration determined that irradiation indeed can kill food-poisoning germs and even lengthen the greens' shelf life without compromising the safety or nutrient value of raw spinach and lettuce. The new regulation goes into effect Friday.

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