Are you buying nutritionally impaired foods? Foods that look fresh they are not necessarily fresh and wholesome. Most of you have heard of irradiation but know little about it. Let's be honest. Chances are that you have probably already eaten irradiated food in some form during the course of your life, whether you knew it or not.

Over the past 12 years, the FDA has approved irradiation for most of our food. Most meat, chicken, wheat, vegetables, fruits, sprouting seeds, spices and herbal teas are irradiated. Luncheon meats, salad bar items, and imported fruits and vegetables are now being considered.

Food irradiation is a process in which food products are exposed to a controlled amount of radiant energy to kill harmful bacteria such as E. coli Campylobacter and Salmonella. The process also can control insects and parasites, reduce spoilage, and inhibit ripening and sprouting.

What are the Benefits?

Food is irradiated to make it safer by destroying harmful bacteria, parasites, insects and fungi. Irradiation does not destroy all disease-causing organisms, which is why perishable irradiated foods must still be kept in the refrigerator or freezer. Nor does it cook foods; so irradiated meat is still not safe to eat raw.

Irradiation also reduces food spoilage. Like freezing, canning and drying, irradiation can extend the storage time of perishable food products. For example, irradiated strawberries stay unspoiled in the refrigerator for up to three weeks as compared to three to four days for untreated berries.

If you are worried about health risks, it was easy to avoid purchasing them, because the FDA required food to be properly labeled if it was irradiated. The FDA has relaxed its rules on labeling of irradiated foods to allow some products zapped with radiation to be called pasteurized.

Foods soon will be labeled irradiated food only when the radiation treatment causes a material change to the product. The FDA defines a material change as an alteration in a food's characteristics caused by irradiation, such as extended shelf-life in bananas or changes in color, texture, or taste that exceed the normal range of variability for the food.

Other examples included changes to the taste, texture, smell or shelf life of a food, which would be flagged in the new labeling.
Irradiation supporters include: The American Council on Science and Health, which supports food irradiation as a science-based technology that has been proven to be safe and effective. ACSH supports informational—not warning—labeling requirements for irradiated food as approved by the FDA.


Irradiation damages food molecules and creates free radicals. These kill some bacteria but also damage enzymes and vitamins in the foods. These free radicals combine with pesticides and other chemicals forming new chemicals called radiolytic products. These are toxins like genzene, formaldehyde, and lipid peroxides. What effect these new chemicals will have on our bodies will take years to find out.

Irradiated foods lose up to 80% of many vitamins as A, C, E, K, AND B complex. Irradiation damages the natural digestive enzymes found in raw foods. This makes the bodywork harder to digest them. The high-energy electron beam used can result in trace radioactivity in the food irradiated.

Irradiation doesn’t mean clean food. It doesn’t kill all the bacterial in food, and the ones surviving may be radiation resistant. Some like botulism, viruses and Mad Cow prions are not killed by current doses of irradiation.

Food producers now can cut corners on sanitation because the food is cleaned up just before shipment. Since the food lasts longer, it can be shipped further and still appear fresh. The giant farms are replacing the local small farmers.

However, irradiation is not a substitute for proper handling procedures during manufacturing and at home. For example, perishable foods must still be kept in the refrigerator or freezer at all times. . Foods labeled “organic” may not be irradiated. Studies on animals fed irradiated foods showed increased tumors, kidney damage and reproductive failures.

Raw food that is irradiated looks fresh, but are like cooked foods, with less vitamins and enzymes. The FDA allows these foods to be labeled fresh. Irradiated fats tend to become rancid.

It looks like irradiation is here to stay, as is aspartame. Neither have had long-term safety studies, but our large food packagers can now grow at the expense of your local farmer. Our bodies can’t handle foreign chemicals and metabolize them.

The kidneys and liver become toxic and overload our bodies. Our immunity decreases and we have a hard time overcoming disease.
Foods that look fresh they are not necessarily fresh and wholesome. Time will tell the story. In the meantime, when in doubt, you might choose organic.

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