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Food irradiation

Food Irradiation is Both Ineffective and Detrimental

Sunday, July 12, 2009 by: Ethan Huff
Tags: food irradiation, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) A recent study published by the University of Wisconsin-Madison showed that cats who were fed a diet of irradiated food developed severe neurological disorders including paralysis, movement disabilities, vision problems, cognitive degeneration, intense pain, loss of feeling, and death. The study revealed that the irradiated food also caused the destruction of myelin, a mixture of proteins and phospholipids that form a protective sheath around nerve fibers in the central nervous system, which includes the brain.

While largely ignored in the actual study, the correlation between irradiation and the destruction of nerve myelin should send a wake up call throughout the medical and scientific community as to the seriously problematic implications of food irradiation.

The scientists who conducted the study were quick to dismiss the idea that humans could be similarly affected as the cats were, recklessly insisting that it is "extremely unlikely that [irradiated food] could become a human health problem." But what are the facts concerning irradiated food?

According to the Organic Consumers Association, irradiation damages molecules and digestive enzymes in food and creates free radicals, leading to the destruction of as much as 80% of the vitamins present. The radioactive particles can also combine with existing chemicals in food, including pesticide residue, and create new chemicals called unique radiolytic products (URPs), which can include toxins such as benzene, formaldehyde, and lipid peroxides.

Long-term ingestion of irradiated food by humans has also not been adequately determined. A 15-week trial on humans was the longest study ever conducted and it failed to identify the ramifications of a life-long diet of varying frequencies of irradiated food ingestion.

In 1982, the FDA approved irradiation of poultry based on only five of 441 animal-feeding studies that, according to Marcia van Gemert, Ph.D., the toxicologist who was chair of the FDA committee at the time when poultry irradiation was approved, were inadequate by even 1982 standards, let alone subsequent year standards. It was also revealed that the levels of radiation the food was subjected to in the studies was significantly lower than the ones the FDA ended up approving for use on human food.

Worse, approval of produce irradiation was determined based on a theoretical calculation of URP levels in one's diet, assuming ingestion of a single 7.5 ounce serving of irradiated produce a day. Since a varied assortment of foods have been approved for irradiation besides produce, this quantity is inconsequential and irrelevant for any legitimate safety estimation. Legitimate studies on animals, however, have shown that irradiated food in reasonable quantities causes them to develop tumors, reproductive failures, and kidney damage.

The horrific truth hiding behind the push for increased food irradiation is the filthy conditions in which the food subsists prior to being irradiated. The industrial food lobby pushed for years to relax regulations on food cleanliness, encouraging the mistaken notion that irradiation would purify the food prior to distribution. The sad reality is that not only does irradiation destroy the food and make it unfit for consumption, but that it also fails to adequately sterilize the food and can actually increase the risk of malignant bacterial growth that festers in the remains.

According to the FDA, the international symbol for irradiation, the radura, must be visible on packaging when the "entire product" has been irradiated. Additionally, any product with irradiated meat as an ingredient must indicate that it is irradiated but does not have to show the radura. Restaurants are not required to indicate that they are using irradiated foods at all.

Money talks and voting with one's wallet is probably the best method by which to stem the tide of food irradiation. Indicate to grocers, restaurateurs, the FDA, the local newspaper and television station - anyone who plays a role in producing or distributing food or in disseminating information - that the irradiation of food is unacceptable. Refuse to purchase irradiated food; tell others about its dangers.

Food & Water Watch, a nonprofit advocate of healthy food and water, has an excellent informational page and downloadable PDF with helpful information about the effects of food irradiation.

To truly solve the problems of food safety, Big Industry and its promulgation of tainted, filthy food must be put to a stop. Ensuring that food be grown, produced, and processed in a clean environment from start to finish should be the primary goal, not the nuking of the entire food supply in order to sweep the root causes of food safety under the rug.

Sources:

Duncan ID, Brower A, Kondo Y, Curlee JF Jr, Schultz RD. Extensive remyelination of the CNS leads to functional recovery. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2009 Apr 2.

Organic Consumers Association - What's Wrong with Food Irradiation?

Food & Water Watch - Food Irradiation and Vitamin Loss

FDA - Irradiation and Food Safety

About the author

Ethan Huff is a freelance writer and health enthusiast who loves exploring the vast world of natural foods and health, digging deep to get to the truth. He runs an online health publication of his own at http://wholesomeherald.blogspot.com.

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