>Have you ever seen a Dunkin' Donut in a compost pile? After 6 months
it's >completely intact--not a critter will touch it. If bugs won't eat
it, or irradiated >"food", I don't want any part of it either.
Weelll, can't say as I ever did look in a compost pile to see what
happened to any Dunkin Donuts that mighta got throwed in there. But we
do have some killer ants here that will carry off a good sized chunk of
one if you drop it on the floor or ground. And they will do it `fore you
can reach down to pick it up. And I am sure they would do the same with
a chunk of papaya or pineapple that had been irradiated.
The various types of sugars and starches that are contained in those
foods are not destroyed or changed into something else by irradiation.
Only a few molecules (maybe less than 100 out of a million) have one or
more electrons in loosely held bands knocked loose. Those few electrons
migrate to other atoms and/or molecules and recombine forming some of the
compounds mentioned earlier. And yes, all, or most, of the microbes are
killed off at the time of the treatment as well as the insects and eggs
that are present.
But if the food is left open to the air (even under refrigeration) new
microbes will be deposited and if there are insects around, they to can
infect the food.
As for the enzymes that are destroyed, most, if not all are destroyed
by cooking as well. The difference is irradiated fresh papaya still
tastes like fresh papaya, not cooked papaya. Oh, I suppose the flavor
will be changed a little. But not nearly as much as cooking.
As far as I can tell from reading and studying the subject using the
materials have on hand, irradiation is no more and no less than just
another way of processing the food to allow it to be transported longer
distances, kept longer, and to rid it of pests and disease causing
microbes. Not significantly different in the final result (other than
retention of flavor) than cooking, canning, or freezing. And in some
instances (several??) it is better than any of the other choices.
When I first asked my question here, I was hoping to get one or more
reasoned and well thought out responses. Maybe even at least one from a
"qualified" scientist. All I have seen so far have been knee jerk
responses from partially or totally uninformed radicals pushing some
loosely defined, or undefined agenda to prevent the use of a proven
technology based on fear, creation of fear, and intimidation.
It is just one symptom of a far greater and wider reaching problem as
demonstrated here on this list and called "Sustainable Agriculture". It
seems everyone wants to push us all back to the middle of the 19th
century, or before where all food was locally grown, harvested, and sold.
Where there was no such thing as fresh fruits from California or
florida, or anywhere else over 50 miles away. Same for vegetables,
meats, poultry, eggs, and anything, with the possible exception of a few
canned goods. But remember, those cans were sealed with lead solder, so
that was no good either.
We all have to be aware that the current population of the world, and
especially the population of our cities (in the US and overseas) cannot
survive on what is locally grown. It would be completely impossible to
feed the current population of Manhattan, let alone the entire city of
New York with food grown within even 100 miles of the city. There just
is not that much agricultural land left there. the same thing holds true
for a number of our other cities. So we have to haul food in by truck,
car, rail, or air. And to get it there, it has to be treated; at least
some of it does.
I am all for eating the freshest food I can find. And I also support
organic production of food. Both are possible....if you handle it
correctly and use all of the available means of treating and processing
it that does not destroy it. Keeping it cool does not destroy it, but it
allows the transportation of insects and microbes that can cause disease.
Freezing it helps, but does not kill all the eggs and many of the
microbes. Cooking works wonders, but who wants cooked bananas and
papaya? Or even peaches? And peaches that are picked green and shipped
across the country, or overseas and ripened artificially are tasteless
and are deficient in nutrients and natural sugars. I could go on with
examples, but I don't think I need to do that for this audience. Most of
you know what I am saying is true. The question is how to get there from
here. Irradiation is one way that appears to be acceptable and I have
seen NO EVIDENCE that it is not.
So.......Can someone show me even a little valid evidence based on
properly conducted scientific studies, that irradiation of food is
harmful or can be harmful to humans? I don't ant to hear that irradiated
foods have trace amounts of certain compounds, so it is harmful. Show me
concentration levels that you can prove are harmful. Keep in mind that
these same compounds are found in the environment in certain levels
naturally. And standards for safe levels of these compounds have been
established after at least some research. One of those compounds
mentioned for example was formaldehyde. Those of you who have offices in
buildings with carpets are very likely exposed to higher levels of
formaldehyde every day than what would be found in a daily intake from
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--