> Latest FDA Proposal: Stealth irradiation of our food.
> A small portion of food currently sold to the American public is
> exposed to radiation in order to kill harmful bacteria. Though they
> declared irradiated food unsafe in 1968, the Food and Drug
> Administration has since declared it safe, and now only requires that
> such foods be labeled. This has still discouraged consumption. But
> now the FDA is arguing for the removal of such labeling. We should be
> concerned about this.
> Irradiated fats may become rancid. Some foods may lose up to 20% of
> their vitamins. Because irradiation may break down cell walls, vitamin
> loss may accelerate during storage. Irradiation may create free
> radicals, which may react with other food components, creating
> radiolytic products, some of which are known carcinogens (benzene,
> formaldehyde, lipid peroxides). Only .05 milligrams of formaldehyde is
> needed to constitute a mutagenic dose. Irradiation of only 30
> milligrams of sucrose (sugar), ubiquitous in food, can create this
> amount of formaldehyde. The process also creates other, "unknown
> radiolytic products" (URPs). The FDA claims that such compounds are
> produced in amounts too tiny to worry about. Thus they discounted the
> need to perform tests upon the effect of such compounds upon animals
> and human beings. But physics professor Dr. Homer Ibser speculates
> that "single exotic molecules may be capable of causing chromosomal
> The FDA's conclusion was based on only 5 out of 441 studies conducted.
> The validity of these 5 studies has been disputed by independent
> scientists. Many of the rejected studies revealed that subject
> animals experienced increased tumors, reproductive failures and kidney
> damage. A study in India found chromosal abnormalities in children fed
> freshly irradiated wheat. The FDA's own study showed that the
> production of fungal aflatoxins, which are very serious carcinogenous,
> is stimulated 100fold when grains and vegetables infected by fungal
> spores are irradiated. Other facts the FDA failed to consider: (1)
> when radiolytic compounds are combined, they may have a synergistic
> effect upon each other. (2) human beings concentrate such toxins in
> body fat, so they may accumulate in the body.
> Accidents involving the radioactive materials used in the process have
> exposed workers to radiation. In the state of Georgia, radioactive
> water got outside an irradiation facility and cost US taxpayers over
> $30 million in cleanup costs. In New Jersey, radioactive water from an
> irradiation facility was poured into drains which emptied into the
> public sewer system. If the FDA gets its way, hundreds more of these
> potentially dangerous irradiation facilities could be built.
> Send a comment to the FDA demanding prominent labeling, the use of the
> terms "irradiation" or "irradiated" and the use of the radura symbol.
> Send a copy of your letter to your congressperson and your senators.
> Send comments before May 18, 1999 to:
> Dockets Management Branch (HFA-305)
> Food and Drug Administration
> 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
> Rockville, MD 20852.
> Refer to Docket #98N-1038, "Irradiation in the production,
> processing and handling of food".
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