Irradiation damages the quality of food.
· Irradiation damages food by breaking up molecules and creating free
radicals. The free radicals kill some bacteria, but they also bounce around
in the food, damage vitamins and enzymes, and combine with existing
chemicals (like pesticides) in the food to form new chemicals, called
unique radiolytic products (URPs).
· Some of these URPs are known toxins (benzene, formaldehyde, lipid
peroxides) and some are unique to irradiated foods. Scientists have not
studied the long-term effect of these new chemicals in our diet. Therefore,
we cannot assume they are safe.
· Irradiated foods can lose 5%-80% of many vitamins (A, C, E, K and B
complex). The amount of loss depends on the dose of irradiation and the
length of storage time.
· Most of the food in the American diet is already approved by the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for irradiation: beef, pork, lamb,
poultry, wheat, wheat flour, vegetables, fruits, shell eggs, seeds for
sprouting, spices, herb teas. (Dairy is already pasteurized). A food
industry petition currently before the FDA asks for approval for luncheon
meats, salad bar items, sprouts, fresh juices and frozen foods. Another
petition before the USDA asks for approval for imported fruits and
· Irradiation damages the natural digestive enzymes found in raw
foods. This means the body has to work harder to digest them.
· If unlabeled, raw foods that have been irradiated look like fresh
foods, but nutritionally they are like cooked foods, with decreased
vitamins and enzymes. The FDA allows these foods to be labeled "fresh."
· Irradiated fats tend to become rancid.
· When high-energy electron beams are used, trace amounts of
radioactivity may be created in the food.