Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Is Irradiated Food Harmful?

Irradiation is in the news as the FDA considers rolling back regulations for the labeling of foods treated this way. One of the most controversial points allows manufacturers to label food as "pasteurized" instead of irradiated.

I don't like this… not for me personally… then again, well…

Don't get me wrong, best I can tell, irradiation is no more harmful than microwaving. "The technique kills bacteria but does not cause food to become radioactive," read a CNN report. Furthermore, it sounds like a very thorough, effective way to make food safe.

However, if the food's been zapped, I'd like to know that.

On the other hand, watching the news last night, I caught some on-the-street interviews with people who were clearly frightened at the possibility of eating irradiated food. People naturally assume that something with the word "radiation" in it is harmful. Nevermind the fact that the sun's "radiation" makes life on Earth possible.

Then again, the frightened man-on-the-street might ask, "but didn't radiation cause such horrors as Godzilla?" Yes, my fellow American, but it also brought us wonderful superheroes like Spiderman.

So maybe the FDA should let friendly euphemisms like "pasteurized" (everyone loves pasteurization, right?) replace scary ones like "irradiated."

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.