Looks like radiation is the favorite food additive these days. As with any food additive there are risks associated with it. Strive to get your foods from as clean a source as possible, and avoid all food additives.
Irradiated herbs, seasonings and spices are exposed to HALF A BILLION
chest X-ray's worth of gamma radiation. This information is clearly
publicized by the USDA and FDA.
The FDA presently supports the use of Cobalt-60 culled from nuclear reactors on all domestically produced conventional food.
The level of gamma-radiation used starts at 1 KiloGray -- equivalent
to 16,700,000 chest x-rays -- and goes all the way up to 30KiloGray
(500,000,000 chest x-rays or 10,000 times a human lethal dose).
According to Green Med Info:
“Despite the irresponsible promotion of this process as safe,
food irradiation destroys much of the vitamin content of food, produces a
number of toxic byproducts: formaldehyde, benzene, and formic acid, as
well as unique radiolytic products, e.g. 2-alklycyclobutanoes, that have
been demonstrated to be cytotoxic (damages cells), genotoxic (damages
DNA), and carcinogenic (causes cancer) in test tube and animal studies.”
You're probably well aware that certain foods, like milk and juices, at your grocery store are pasteurized -- a process that uses heat to kill off bacteria from your food, and in the process destroys nutrients and denatures the food.
But you may not know that foods may also be irradiated -- a process
that exposes your food to radiant energy, including gamma rays, electron
beams and X-rays.
Irradiation was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) in 1963, and today is used on more than 40 food products dispersed
throughout 37 countries. If this sounds a bit alarming to you, you are
So how is it that food
processors can expose your food to radiation on purpose, in the name of
Are There Health Risks to Eating Irradiated Food?
The FDA claims,
"Irradiation is an important food safety tool in fighting foodborne
illness," noting that the sources and amounts of radiation applied to
foods are not strong enough to cause the food to become radioactive.
They also state that "food irradiation does not significantly change the
nutrient content, flavor, or texture of food." However, as Sayer Ji, found of GreenMedInfo.com, states:
"The FDA presently supports and actively promotes the use of
Cobalt-60 culled from Nuclear Reactors as a form of "electronic
pasteurization" on all domestically produced conventional food.
The use of euphemisms like "food additive" and "pasteurization"
to describe the process of blasting food with high levels of
gamma-radiation cannot obviate the fact that the very same death-rays
generated by thermonuclear warfare to destroy life are now being applied
to food to "make it safer" …
This is not a hypochondriac's rantings, as we aren't talking here
about small amounts of radiation. The level of gamma-radiation used
starts at 1KiloGray (equivalent to 16,700,000 chest x-rays or 333 times a
human lethal dose) and goes all the way up to 30KiloGray (500,000,000
chest x-rays or 10,000 times a human lethal dose)."
As you might suspect, exposing food to the equivalent of hundreds of
millions of x-rays does not appear to be an innocuous act.
Alternatively, evidence to date suggests it may be having a detrimental
effect on the health of those who consume it.
A New Class of Food Contaminants
2-alkylcyclobutanones (2-ACBs) are radiolytic derivatives of triglycerides found exclusively in irradiated food. The compounds are generated proportionally to fat content of the food and the dose of absorbed radiation.
Research in animals suggests the compounds may promote tumor growth and colon cancer, and studies show 2-alkylcyclobutanones are able to cross the intestinal barrier, enter into the bloodstream, and be stored in the fat tissue of an animal. The compounds have also been shown to be cytotoxic and genotoxic, which means they may damage cells and DNA, respectively. Studies on human cells also revealed potential cancer-causing effects,
with researchers concluding "this compound may be regarded as a
possible risk factor for processes in colon carcinogenesis related to
initiation and progression."
More Reasons to be Wary of Irradiation
Needless to say, the research to date is raising major red flags that
irradiation is NOT as safe as food safety officials would have you
believe. In addition to the formation of potentially toxic 2-ACBs, irradiation leads to the formation of furan from ascorbic acid, fructose, sucrose, or glucose. Furan in foods has been linked to liver toxicity, including carcinogenicity.
Another study found that cats developed "mysterious" and "remarkable" severe neurological dysfunction,
including movement disorders, vision loss and paralysis, after being
fed a diet of irradiated foods during gestation. When they were taken
off the irradiated foods, they slowly recovered. This is a major clue
that irradiated foods deserve some serious regulatory scrutiny, but
unfortunately they have already infiltrated the food system. And it's
not as though this concerning evidence was just recently brought to
light. One paper on potential dangers, prepared for the meeting of the Joint FAO/IAEA/WHO Expert Committee on Irradiated Food, dates back to 1969. The author stated:
" … irradiation can bring about chemical transformations in food
and food components resulting in the formation of potential mutagens."
Do You Want to Avoid Irradiated Foods?
In the United States, the following foods may be irradiated:
meat and poultry (including whole or cut up birds, skinless poultry,
pork chops, roasts, stew meat, liver, hamburgers, ground meat, and
||Wheat and wheat powder
||Dry vegetable seasonings
||Fresh shell eggs
Fortunately, the FDA currently requires that irradiated foods include
labeling with the statement "treated with radiation" or "treated by
irradiation" and the international symbol for irradiation, the radura:
However, there are exceptions:
- Irradiated meat used in another product (such as sausage) does
not have to contain the radura image on the package (it does have to
list irradiated meat in the ingredients, though).
- Restaurants are not required to disclose the use of irradiated
foods. So be aware that any time you eat out, you have no way of knowing
if your food has been irradiated.
You can also avoid irradiation by choosing locally grown, organic
foods as much as possible. Certified organic foods may not be
irradiated, and foods from a small, local farm are unlikely to be
either. So, as I've said many times before, supporting the small farmers
in your area and, as much as possible, getting your food from these
types of high-quality, small-scale local sources is one of the simplest ways to access pure, unadulterated food.