The FDA has recently announced that it will be allowing ionizing radiation treatment to fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce. Even worse, because consumers have clearly made it evident that they disapprove of radiation industry has been pushing the FDA to eliminate labeling requirements – so that we have no way to avoid irradiated food products.
What does it mean to treat a food with radiation? Ionizing radiation is the equivalent of blasting our produce with tens of millions of chest x-rays. Just as this would be lethal to human beings because it alters cellular structure, it alters the cellular structure of the food radiated and in some foods, creates new compounds which have been recognized as carcinogenic.Â The appearance of these cancer-causing compounds have been confirmed by FDA officials. Little testing has been done to determine the safety of consuming irradiated foods.
Rather than irradiation to treat potential food borne pathogens, we need to go to the root of the issue. Unhealthy soil, poor farming practices and lax regulation have allowed the spread of food borne illnesses among crops. Treating farm crops with sewer sludge, planting crops near slaughterhouse run-off, and poorly supervised, underpaid workers all contribute to the weakened infrastructure of our food supply.
To change these policies and practices, we must take matters into our own hands. Because of how our government has organized the agriculture in this country, grassroots movements will be the only way to change the direction our food supply is headed.
Here’s what you can do:
- Buy Organic: Organic foods are not treated with sewer sludge and come from farms with healthier soil (which in turn leads to greater nutrient value). It is still commonly believed that organic spinach caused the 2006 Ecoli outbreak, however, investigations revealed it was NOT the organic supply which was contaminated. (Source)
- Support Your Local Farmer: Getting to know who grows your food empowers you by knowing more about how your food was grown and allows you to have a significant impact on farming practices by voicing your needs directly to the source of your food.
- Please ask Congress to step in and protect consumers — email congress asking that they require all irradiated products to be labeled. Consumers have a right to know exactly what they are buying.
For more information:
Food Politics by Marion Nestle – a wonderful book talking about the creation of the first food guide pyramid, public school nutrition, supplement regulation in the United States and delves into just why the marriage of food promotion and food protection is a bad idea.
Take action and learn more at the Organic Consumers Association website. From here is a link to comment within the 30 day window allowed by the FDA.Â Aside from voting with your dollar, this is the most powerful way to make your voice heard!