Food irradiation
Irradiation is a process in which x-rays or gamma rays are passed through food to kill insects and microbial contaminants. Despite an absence of testing, including any low-level testing, our FDA approved the use of irradiation technology for most of the foods we consume. These foods not only include herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables, but also wheat, beef, lamb, pork and poultry. Experts agree that irradiation causes food to loose nutrients. Opponents warn of harmful changes at the molecular level of food that is subjected to irradiation. They claim this technology is often used by our food processing industry to compensate for their own deficiencies. They say irradiation is used to control fecal contamination in meat and to prolong the marketing life of vegetables and produce. Irradiation proponents say this technology helps make our food safer, lessens waste and reduces the use of pesticides. However, European studies have found chemical byproducts in irradiated ground beef and other foods that may increase the risk of colon cancer and cause DNA damage in human cells. Irradiation opponents seek long-term exposure studies and insist on a consumer’s right to know if food has undergone this treatment. Although federal law requires labeling of irradiated foods, currently restaurants are not required to do so. Advocates say labeling should be required for irradiated ingredients of compound foods as well as for restaurant and institutional foods.

Pending Legislation: None

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April 9, 2020
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April 15, 2020

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