FOOD, FACTS and FADS

Exploring the sense and nonsense of food and health

Irradiated Food?

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Radura symbol used for irradiated food in USA ...

Radura symbol used for irradiated food in USA (as legally implemented) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Food irradiation has been around for decades and has been approved for spices, dry vegetable seasonings.   Other additions to the approved list are shell eggs and seeds, seafood,  lettuce. spinach, poultry.  Due to the recent Listeria outbreaks, manufacturers have petitioned the U.S. government for permission to irradiate processed meats such as hot dogs.  All irradiated foods, except dried seasonings must be labeled with the international symbol, Radura and a statement that the product has been treated by this process.  Americans appear to have an unfounded fear of this process and many think that the food becomes radioactive.  This is not true; no radioactive residues remain and the process is as safe as heating your dinner in a microwave.  There is no change in nutritional quality or taste, texture or appearance. Many countries including Mexico, France, Japan and Italy have been using this technology for many food products.  Pasteurization when introduced in the late nineteenth century was met with similar apprehension.  Consumer acceptance is the key – if it occurs, many cases of food borne illness could be prevented along with the health complications associated with these illnesses.

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