Years ago I remember thinking our shift from an agricultural based society to an industrialized one spelled doom for us all. I reasoned we would surly lose control of our food supply to others. It never occurred to me that our food supply would not only be lost, but poisoned with toxic chemicals, manipulated genetically (GM Food), molecularly and atomically (Nanotechnology), and X-rayed (Food Irradiation).
We’re told the mass production of food necessitates all this intervention. Is it to ensure our safety, or boost crop yields, extend shelf life, and maximize corporate profits?
Besides GM FOOD, NANOFOOD, and all the chemically enhanced pesticides and fertilizers used to accelerate crop harvest, rendering our fruits and vegetables virtually impotent, there is IRRADIATED FOOD.
The process of irradiation involves exposing food to ionized radiation which originates from gamma rays, machine-generated electrons, or X-rays. The ionizing energy passing through food kills microbes, bacteria, insects, insect eggs or larvae and parasites.
In August 2008, the FDA approved the use of irradiation to control pathogens in iceberg lettuce and spinach. Apparently — even though consumer groups opposed it — the Grocery Manufacturers Association of America pressured the FDA to approve irradiation of “leafy greens”.
But food irradiation goes back over forty years and to date includes herbs, spices, grains, poultry, ground beef, and seafood. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, food irradiation is approved for use in over 55 countries worldwide.
The USDA and FDA have approved the use of irradiation in a variety of our foods.
The current list includes:
* Wheat and wheat flour. Approved in 1963 by FDA to eliminate insect infestation.
* White potatoes. Approved by FDA in 1964 to prevent sprouting.
* Spices and vegetable seasonings. Approved by FDA in 1983 to eliminate microbial contamination.
* Pork. Approved in 1986 by FDA to inactivate trichina (trichinosis) organisms.
* Fruits and vegetables. Approved in 1986 by FDA to eliminate insect infestation, delay growth, and maturation of produce.
* Herbs, spices and dry vegetable seasonings. Approved by FDA in 1986 to eliminate insect infestation and microbial contamination.
* Dehydrated enzymes. Approved in 1986 by FDA to eliminate microbial contamination.
* Animal and pet food. Approved in 1986 by FDA to eliminate microbial contamination.
* Papaya fruit. Approved in 1987 by USDA to eliminate insect infestation.
* Poultry. Approved by FDA in 1990 and USDA in 1992 to eliminate microbial contamination.
* Fresh red meat. Approved by FDA in 1997, for elimination of microbial contamination.
* Frozen red meat. Approved by FDA in 1997, for elimination of microbial contamination.
I suppose I could allow myself to be relieved since food irradiation has been approved in so many counties and around for so long, and maybe even comforted — in a kind of desperate, superficial, escapist way — by guys like David Byron, Head of the IAEAs Food and Environmental Protection Section.
Dave reassuringly says, “We look at irradiation as a form of pasteurization. It’s like any other food process. There are no residues, no radioactive material. It has been one of the most rigorously studied food processes in history. Its been used for 50 years. In fact, it’s been used to treat foods eaten by astronauts in space.”
Whew, that’s a load off.
But then I stumble upon a much talked about study posted on The Wisconsin State Journal about pregnant cats and this great discovery that could someday help people with multiple sclerosis. The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
It seems “Harlan Laboratories in Madison gave irradiated food to cats to study their growth and development, and some of the cats who were currently or recently pregnant developed movement disorders, vision loss and paralysis..Studies on diseased cats that were euthanized showed a depletion of myelin, the protective sheath around nerve fibers that degrades in MS and other diseases. Other diseased cats that were kept alive were switched to a regular diet ” and gradually recovered from their disorder. After they were killed, studies showed that their myelin had been restored, though it wasn’t as thick than before”
Ian Duncan, a neuroscientist on campus, raved about how “It shows that when you get remyelination, it restores function in a very severe disease.”In other words, they concluded the central nervous system in cats retained the ability to reestablish myelin, the results of which could be used for treating severe neurological diseases in humans.
What is swept under the proverbial rug of course is what happened to the cats that ate irradiated food — they developed “severe neurological symptoms due to a degradation of myelin, the fatty insulator of nerve fibers called axons..This loss of myelin is found in several disorders of the central nervous system in humans — the best known being multiple sclerosis (MS)”
“Curiously,”writes Sherry Baker with Natural News, “although the scientists’ related their findings to possible human applications, they were quick to dismiss a possible connection between people, irradiated food and health risk. We think it is extremely unlikely that (irradiated food) could become a human health problem,’ Duncan explained in the media statement. We think it is species specific.'”
Species differences aside, cats are mammals and share many of the same biological traits with humans, despite their anatomical structure being distinctly less complex. So there’s no reason not to assume that prolonged human exposure to irradiated food may have hazardous effects — albeit not identical.
“According to the Center for Food Safety,”writes Baker, “studies have shown irradiation produces volatile toxic chemicals such as benzene and toluene, which are known or suspected to cause cancer and birth defects. A 2001 study found an association between colon tumors and 2-alkylcyclobutanones (2-ACB’s), a new chemical compound detected only in foods that have been irradiated”
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