Actually, this looks like great news to me. The more adulterated the
nation's food supply, the wider the gap between supermarket fare and
direct-sale farm products, and the better our foods look to Mr./Mrs. Food
Shopper. Legalized food irradiation gives small farmers a tremendous
marketing advantage, which may help alleviate loss of market due to the
industrialization of the organic foods sector. No doubt, many folks who
were borderline SA supporters before will embrace SA now.
-Ralph in Tennessee
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Leigh Hauter [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 28, 1999 6:34 PM
> To: CSA list
> Subject: USDA Approves Nuked Meat!
> Consumers Beware: USDA Approves Nuked Meat!
> The US meat industry can now irradiate refrigerated or frozen raw beef,
> pork, lamb, as well as meat products to prevent disease rather than
> the problem by instituting more sanitary packing and handling conditions,
> according to a December 14, 1999 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
> announcement. USDA also weakened its existing regulations for poultry,
> including no longer requiring that poultry be irradiated in the package in
> which it is sold. This means that irradiated poultry products can be used
> as ingredients in further processed products, such as TV dinners.
> Unfortunately, rather than cleaning up the filthy conditions at large,
> corporate farms and industrial slaughterhouses, the meat industry and
> allies in the U.S. government are promoting food irradiation as a way to
> prevent food-borne illness. Food irradiation will not solve the problems
> associated with the unsanitary conditions at huge factory sized farms from
> which feces-covered animals are transported to industrialized-size
> slaughtering facilities. Workers at these facilities are required to
> speed-up work, for instance, "processing" as many as 300 cows an hour, and
> too few USDA inspectors are on hand to insure that procedures to prevent
> contamination are followed.
> USDA's Retail Labeling Requirements for Meat
> While the new USDA rule does include a labeling requirement (a radura) on
> irradiated meat and poultry products sold at retail, meat served in
> facilities like restaurants, hospitals or school cafeterias does not have
> to be labeled. This means that consumer's will have no way of insuring
> they the meat they eat in these establishments is not irradiated.
> of fast food burgers should be especially concerned, since hamburger
> patties are a prime candidate for irradiation.
> Moreover, if the FDA does not continue to require labeling, the USDA is
> unlikely to require labeling. USDA is "harmonizing" all of their food
> regulations with the FDA. Requirements are as follows:
> 1) Packaged meat products irradiated in their entirety must bear the
> international radura symbol. Unfortunately, the symbol, which contains
> simple petals in a broken circle is benevolent looking and its meaning is
> not widely recognized. Additionally, products must either include the word
> "irradiated" as part of the product name or must bear a statement such as
> "Treated with radiation" or "Treated by irradiation." The radura must be
> placed in conjunction with the required statement, if the statement is
> used. The statement is not required to be more prominent than the
> declaration of ingredients and it can be anywhere on the package.
> 2) Unpackaged meat products irradiated in their entirety are required to
> have the radura symbol and a statement "prominently and conspicuously"
> displayed to purchasers either through labeling on a bulk container or
> "some other appropriate device." The agency does not define what this
> "other appropriate device" could be.
> 3) USDA is also allowing labeling statements and claims regarding the
> "beneficial effects" and the purpose of irradiation.
> 4) Multi-ingredient products, which include an irradiated meat product,
> must only reflect its inclusion in the ingredient statement on the
> product's label.
> 5) USDA eliminated two labeling requirements for poultry. The requirements
> that "letters used for the qualifying statement shall be no less than
> one-third the size of the largest letter in the product name" and second,
> that the radura logo on irradiated poultry product labels be colored green
> have been eliminated.
> USDA Weakens Food Additive Law
> USDA also ended their requirement for the use of food additives
> (irradiation is considered an additive). In the future, the Food and Drug
> Administration (FDA) will be the sole agency regulating food additives.
> USDA says in its materials about the rule that they will "discuss" with
> their concerns about additives used in meat and poultry. The new rule is
> the latest in a series of so-called "reforms," which make it easier for
> food industry to get regulatory approval, but decrease the protections for
> consumers. The new rule will shorten the approval process for additives
> from two to five years.
> USDA Approves Meat Irradiation Without Proof of its Safety
> The legalization of food irradiation is based on a house of cards. No
> studies have been done to show that a long-term diet of irradiated foods
> safe. In legalizing the irradiation of raw meat, the USDA relied upon the
> FDA's determination that food irradiation is safe. Unfortunately, the FDA
> based their legalization of food irradiation on shaky scientific evidence.
> A special task force of the FDA reviewed a large body of scientific
> literature on the toxicological testing of irradiated food, however, they
> based their approval of food irradiation on only five studies. The FDA
> force reviewed over 2000 studies, over four hundred of which met a high
> enough standard that they could potentially have been reviewed Obviously,
> since the FDA used such a small sample, the potential for bias is great.
> Furthermore, because they were unable to provide definitive evidence of
> safety of irradiated food, the FDA eventually based their legalization of
> food irradiation on a theoretical model about how many new chemicals
> (potential carcinogens) are formed in the food products by irradiation.
> Take Action Now!
> Write or call your member of Congress and voice your concerns about food
> If you need information about your elected representative, call Public
> Citizen at 202-546-4996 or email us at the web site below. Ask your
> Representatives and Senators to write to Health and Human Services
> Secretary, Donna Shalala, about the FDA potentially removing the
> requirement that irradiated foods be labeled.
> The Honorable Donna Shalala, US Dept. of Health and Human Services, 200
> Independence Ave., SW. Washington, DC 20201 (For more info:
> Wenonah Hauter
> Public Citizen's Critical Mass Energy Project
> Visit our Web Site: www.citizen.org/cmep
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