Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Food nuking

The following is an excerpt from a 7th Generation article on the FDA ruling to allow companies to nuke foods in order to kill harmful germs like E. Coli. The problem is that it can also kill all the beneficial nutrients, up to 100% of them, according to the article, and in the process, can also create carcinogens and brand new "unique radiolytic compounds." Does this sound like a creepy sci-fi plot, or what?!

Here's what you can do to keep irradiated foods off your table:

• Understand food irradiation labeling laws: The FDA requires the labeling of whole, unprocessed irradiated foods but not packaged foods that contain irradiated ingredients. For example, if irradiated onions are used in a can of chili, this fact probably won't be mentioned on the can's label. But if those same onions are sold raw in the produce department, their package or display must say "Treated With Irradiation" and be marked with the Radura symbol (see picture above). These regulations do not apply to restaurants, schools, hospitals and other institutions, which can serve irradiated foods without notice.

• Be aware that the FDA has proposed changing these regulations so that only those irradiated foods that are "materially changed" by the irradiation process would be labeled. The agency is also suggesting that labeling language replace all references to irradiation with the terms "cold pasteurized" or "electronically pasteurized." 7Gen will keep its readers advised of any changes to irradiation regulations.

• Buy organic. According to federal standards, organically-produced foods cannot be irradiated.

• Buy locally-produced foods at co-ops, farmers markets and other "home-grown" outlets. Given the specialized facilities needed to irradiate food, these are unlikely to be treated.

• Avoid processed foods, which can contain irradiated ingredients without stating so on their labels.

• Inspect labels and supermarket displays carefully. The labeling of irradiated foods can legally occur in very fine print.

• Buy organic and/or "natural" herbs and spices in bulk from reputable natural food suppliers. Conventional herbs and spices are often irradiated and a loophole in the law allows them to go unlabeled. Teas are also exempt from labeling.

No comments: