>Many see irradiation, at least in the
>meat context, as a public health issue. Public policy often circumvents
>free choice in the interest of personal safety. An example is helmet laws
>for motorcyclists. A lot of people prefer to ride without a helmet. Should
>that be illegal?
I don't see these as analogous issues. There is no question about what
happens when an unprotected skull hits the pavement at 60 miles per hour.
There are still legitimate questions about what happens when irradiated
foodstuffs are consumed as part of a long-term diet. It is not yet clear,
to me and many others, that the connection between public policy and
personal safety has been made for irradiated foods.
Food safety is a public issue, of course, but irradiation is being promoted
as a cure-all measure for food-borne disease problems that might better be
solved by other means.
If you keep banging yourself upside the head with a hammer, and as a result
get a headache, should you take a high-strength pain reliever or should you
stop banging yourself upside the head with a hammer? Before we start
nuking everything we eat, perhaps we should look at how the food is grown,
what's being fed to it, and how it is handled and processed on its way to
the consumer. Maybe the problems could be solved there.
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