> > 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.
>Do I really need to do a literature search and trot out statistics about how
>many thousands of people are made ill or killed each year from E-coli or
>Salmonella from meat?
'Course not, Dale. But to be fair, you might have quoted what I said
*ahead* of that sentence, which was: "There are still legitimate questions
about what happens when irradiated foodstuffs are consumed *as part of a
long-term diet" (emphasis added).
> > 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.
>First, I have never heard this called a "cure all" by proponents of
>irradiation. They regard it as just another santitation tool.
To me, it appears that proponents regard irradiation as a one-size-fits-all
sanitation tool. Irradiation for meat, irradiation for milk, irradiation
for fresh produce. That jibes with the definition of cure-all, synonymous
with panacea, "a remedy for all ills or difficulties" (Merriam-Webster's
Collegiate, 10th Ed). If I have chosen a word that confuses the issue, I
>Second, the argument you make is like saying "helmet laws are not needed
>since the root cause is people driving too fast and not being careful."
I don't think my argument is like saying that at all. Helmet laws are in
place because we know full well the consequences of not wearing the helmet
should an accident occur (which could as easily be the result of mechanical
failure, wet pavement, a child darting into the street...). Whatever the
root cause of food contamination, I am not persuaded that we know enough
yet about the *consequences* of the proposed remedy--irradiation.
>The advantage of top-down regulation like helmet laws and irradiation of
>meat, is that it provides a back-up safety system in case personal morality
>and responsibility are inconsistent (as they always are in large human
>systems like highways and meat packing plants).
The disadvantage of top-down regulation is that it tends, over time, to
remove any impetus for *increased* personal (or corporate) morality and
responsibility. The speed limit is the speed limit, and the person who
spins out in a driving rainstorm says plaintively, "But I wasn't speeding."
Regulations are regulations, and companies learn to toe the line. As long
as they are in compliance with the rules, they need think no further about
their responsibility for the public good or their moral obligations to a
civilized society. Regulations, which are designed as much to limit
liability as to safeguard the public, set both floor and ceiling.
> > Before we start nuking everything we eat, perhaps we should
> > look at how the food is grown, what's being fed to it,....
>Despite your inflammatory language, the argument against irradiation really
>comes down to whether or not the practice has any deleterious side-effects,
>and how serious they are.
Sorry, Dale. I didn't mean to be inflammatory. In my vocabulary, "nuking"
is a relatively benign term that I use to refer to the workings of my
microwave as well as other forms of radiation. A neighbor undergoing
therapy for breast cancer says she's going in for her regular nuking. I did
not intend to offend with the term.
But as long as you're talking about inflammatory (Webster's again: "tending
to excite anger, disorder, or tumult"), your prose might fit the bill, too:
>The problem in large scale production is that a minute amount of fecal
>contaminate 100,000 pounds of ground beef, and hurt thousands of people in
Shouldn't we think some more about large-scale production?
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