The Food Irradiation Business

Submitted by Editor on Wed, 10/11/2004 - 00:05

Hello all,
Attached and below is an article about the Food Irradiation Business - written by Brisbane journalist Lauren Skarrott - for use in PR about our Food Irradiation Awarenss Tour or just as general information about food irradiation. It may be used at will without a by-line.

Also attached is a copy of the complete Food Irradiation Awareness Tour itinerary. The tour will visit Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns between Nov 16-26.

Thanks.

obin Taubenfeld
FOod Irraidiation Watch
0411 118 737

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stop foodirradiation
stopfoodirradiation@hotmail.com
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November 9, 2004

The Food Irradiation Business

Australian irradiated mangos and other tropical fruits could be sitting on New Zealand and Australian tables this summer according to Food Irradiation Watch campaigner Robin Taubenfeld.

In March last year Food Standards Australia and New Zealand approved an application for irradiation of a range of tropical fruits including custard apples, litchis, mangos, and papayas.

Steritech, the only Australia sterilisation company currently using irradiation, hasn’t had the infrastructure until recent times to be able to irradiate tropical fruit.

Under recent trade agreements with New Zealand and the USA, exporting irradiated food may open the floodgates for Australia to import irradiated food from other countries.

Not only is Australia at risk of irradiated foods coming in from poorer nations with fewer regulations on what doses of irradiation can be used, but Australia also risks the bulk importation of irradiated food that has not been appropriately labelled, said Robin Taubenfeld.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand claims that food irradiation of tropical fruit is essential, in order for Australia to be able to participate in international trade and have market access.

"The Applicant [to irradiate tropical fruits] argued, in part, that such permissions would facilitate trade and market access within Australia and between Australia, New Zealand and other countries," the Food Standards Australia New Zealand spokesperson said.

However, the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Board does accept that some loss of quantity is unavoidable.

"At certain doses of irradiation... the quality of the fruit can be affected.

"However, the final quality of irradiated fruit is a commercial and marketing issue for growers of the fruit and operators of irradiation facilities.

"This will ultimately determine consumer acceptance of irradiation-treated produce."

Food Standards Australia New Zealand isn’t concerned about the detriment that the irradiation would have on the tropical fruits.

"The irradiation of tropical fruits is found not to have a significant nutritional effect on the diet of the Australian and New Zealand populations. "

"The tropical fruits being considered for irradiation are not significant sources of certain vitamins, including beta-carotene, folate, vitamin C and vitamin B 1 within the context of the total dietary intake."

It remains a frightening fact that food irradiation destroys or damages the nutrimental content of foods, effecting vitamins, proteins and fatty acids.

Vitamins B1, B2, B2, B6, B12 folic acid, C, E and K are significantly damaged by irradiation, while essential amino acids and polyunsaturated fatty acids can also be killed.

The lack of nutrimental value of irradiated foods is not the greatest concern consumer advocacy groups have about food irradiation.

According to Wenonah Hauter, Director of the Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization have ignored a lot of research demonstrating that irradiated foods is not safe for human consumption.

Ms Hauter has spent several years documenting the history of the food irradiation industry and believes that food irradiation has a negative health effect on consumers.

"The negative health effects that irradiated foods have had on lab animals are well documented, including premature death, mutations, foetal death and other reproductive problems, immune system disorders, fatal internal bleeding, organ damage, tumours, stunted growth and nutritional deficiencies," said Ms Hauter.

"The World Health Organization has ignored a vast amount of research suggesting that irradiated foods are not safe for human consumption," said Ms Hauter.

Consumer advocacy group Pure Foods said that the real reason food irradiation is allowed to continue despite heath concerns in that multi-national corporations make billions of dollars in profits from having an extending shelf life of food.

Wenonah Hauter said Food Irradiation significantly alters the composition of food causing chemicals not naturally produced in food to occur.

These chemicals include 2-alkylcyclobutanones, or 2-ACBs, benzene and methyl ethyl ketone that has been linked with birth defects, "cancer development in rats and genetic damage in human cells".

A National Food Irradiation Tour will be travelling throughout Australia next month to raise awareness about the existence of food irradiation in Australia.

Media Contact:
Robin Taubenfeld from Food Irradiation Watch
0411 118 737

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