Food Irradiation – The shocking truth revealed!
By Matt Hall — Staff Writer
You may now know this, but food is often treated with a dose of radiation before it makes its way to your plate. This process is called irradiation, and while agriculture industry representatives insist it is safe, decades of data indicates otherwise. Don’t swallow these 5 myths about irradiation from Gaia Health — learn the shocking truth instead!
Myth 1: Irradiation is Safe
This first myth might as well be considered a blatant lie. Irradiation has been documented to cause neurological damage in laboratory animals. Some chemical compounds produced by irradiation has been found to promote cancer as well as genetic and cellular damage in both rats and humans. Some of the chemicals – known to cause both cancer and birth defects – produce formed by the radiation include benzene, toluene, methyl ethyl ketone, and cyclobutanones. Finally, the process forms free radicals, which have their own slew of health problems.
Myth 2: Irradiation Effectively Makes Food Safer
The truth behind this myth is less straightforward than “it’s safer.” Irradiation does accomplish the purpose of killing infectious organisms. If there’s infectious bacteria in food, it will be killed by irradiation. However, the dangerous elements produced by these bacteria will remain.
One example of this is the bacteria that causes botulism. Yes, the bacteria itself is killed by irradiation. However, the neurotoxin produced by this bacteria is not destroyed in the radiation process. Thus, in a way, irradiation fails in its primary goal of protecting consumers.
Irradiation does also not prevent contamination by fecal matter and other similar contaminants.
Myth 3: Irradiated Foods Taste the Same and Contain the Same Nutrients
This one is a big false. Irradiating food robs it of nutrients and affects its taste. Here are just a few of the ways irradiation changes food:
Irradiation doubles the trans fat content in beef.
Some people have described the taste of irradiated food as rotten, bloody, burned, grassy, rotten, sulphuric, like burned oil or rancid.
Vitamins like vitamins A, B, C, E, and K are destroyed in the irradiation process (along with between 20-95% of all vitamins).
Beneficial organisms like yeast and molds (which prevent botulism) are destroyed.
Myth 4: Irradiating Foods Doesn’t Harm the People Who Do It
This message is also completely untrue. Even though many people do work in facilities where irradiation takes place, there have been several documented cases of workers being injured.
When you look at how much radioactive energy is used to read food, it’s not a surprise that there accidents. One report in Consumer Reports (August 2003) claims that the amount of energy used to the radius food is about 15 million times energy in a single chest x-ray. That’s 150 times the dose that would kill a healthy adult.
According to Gaia Health, in 1991 a man lost four fingers from an accidental overdose of radiation while treating food. The same thing happened the next year when a man lost a hand and several fingers in a similar accident. In 1998, Georgia taxpayers had to pay $47 million to clean up a spill at an irradiation plant.
It is true that irradiated foods do not contain any radiation, but it is not true the process of getting those foods is completely safe.
Myth 5: The Public Commonly Knows about Irradiated Food
Before this article, how much did you know about irradiated food? Did you know food you eat was regularly treated with radiation before it ended up on the store shelves? Were you aware this irradiated food was being served in hospitals, airlines, schools, and just about anywhere else food is served?
USDA regulations only require that irradiated meats be labelled as such. Vegetables do not need to be labeled. This leave the door open for plenty of abuse by the companies whoever the these things.
Treating foods with radiation just doesn’t make sense – at least when you look at the potential health hazards this could cause. The truth is irradiation allows companies to continue poor agricultural practices that enable contamination to occur in the first place. Instead of solving the root problems, we are treating the symptoms.