Web Note: The editors of the New York Times seem well aware of the recent organic and sustainable food movement. They love to publish Michael Pollan, right? Why, then, do they not understand why Americans aren't excited by food irradiation?
Before the recent revelation that peanut butter could kill people, even before the spinach scare of three summers ago, the nation's food industry made a proposal. It asked the government for permission to destroy germs in many processed foods by zapping them with radiation.
That was about nine years ago, in the twilight of the Clinton administration. The government has taken limited action since.
After spinach tainted with a strain of E. coli killed three people and sickened more than 200 others in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration gave permission for irradiation of spinach and iceberg lettuce. It has yet to begin. Meat irradiation is permitted but rarely used. Among common items on the grocery shelf, only spices and some imported products, like mangoes from India, are routinely treated with radiation.
The technology to irradiate food has been around for the better part of a century. The federal government says that it is safe, and many experts believe that it could reduce or even eliminate the food scares that periodically sweep through American society.
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New York Times Shills for Irradiation to Solve Food Safety Issues
Spinach and Peanuts, With a Dash of Radiation
By Andrew Martin
The New York Times, Feb 1, 2009
Straight to the Source