Irradiation : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

My local news just said that the powers to be want to change the beef packaging to call irratiated meat something else like maybe cold pasteurizing. Sneaky devils aren't they? If there is nothing wrong with the process, like THEY say, why hide it?

-- Tom (, November 06, 2000


Because the public won't accept it since they see the word "RADIATION" within irradiation. I guess that they think that they will glow in the dark after they eat products irradiated. Does anyone glow after an x-ray? I say bring it on whatever you want to call it. It should save lives from undercooking meat that has the nasties in it.

-- Notforprint (, November 06, 2000.

Public squemishness mostly. Why do they call pressure cooked chicken scraps and organs "mechanically seperated chicken" ( I always thought that refered to grannys' rooster after gramps run it down with the dodge)

-- Jay Blair (, November 06, 2000.

Unfortunately Notforprint...

...that not how American enterprise likes to operate. The meatpacking and grocery industry will use the "cold pasturizing" technology to allow themselves to extend the shelf life of the product. Since the zapped meat will be free of germs for a longer period, it can sit in the coolers and freezers for longer periods of time with reduced threat of contamination.

Will the meat be safe. Probably. Will it be FRESH? Heck no.


-- Craig Miller (, November 06, 2000.

Define safe. Hormone laden, dredged through contaminated water to "clean" them, stored and transported for indeterminate times, frozen, thawed and labelled fresh. Maybe germ free, but certainly not wholesome. I'm sure Ralph Nader approves, though.

-- ray (, November 06, 2000.

Tom, Could you explain to me in general what the irradiation process is? Whenever I see reference to it, the general position seems to put it up there with Hiroshima and Chernobyl. Irradiation could be anything from microwave or x-ray to electrical current or a U.V. lamp. I don't recall reading about the actual process, just everyones concerns. I would like some more info on it to better understand how great the potential risk is

-- Jay Blair (, November 06, 2000.

Here's what I understand is the reason for irradiation-feedlots with unsanitary conditions.Cows in their own poop and in poor shape with diareaha. then they go to the slaughter house and some of your meat get contaminated with feces. DOUBLE YUCK.Our farmer raised beef but would only eat venison, bc he saw conditions at the feedlots, and the sickly cows there.He ranged his and sold it as breeder stock. We also eat venison that we butcher ourselves. Irradiated=xray

-- sharon wt (, November 06, 2000.

To Ray, actually if you were familiar with Ralph Nader's values, you would know that he would stand wholeheartedly against irradiation, and if it were allowed,would demand full and honest labelling. He is a staunch supporter of organic sustainable agriculture.

-- Earthmama (, November 06, 2000.


Complicated subject and I'm no nuclear scientist.

Basically irradiation (or "cold processing") subjects food products to Colbalt 60 for a specific period of time. This is not the same radioactive sources as those found in nuclear power plants or produced by nuclear weapons. It is not microwave cooking. Almost all of the radiation passes through the material. Exposure to low levels of Cobalt 60 kills most living cells which are present on or in food products. Thus molds, bacteria, insects (eggs, larvae and adults) and growth nodes are deactivated by the treatment. No residue is left from the treatment, which means the process is safe.

Food irradiation has been around for almost 55 years. It is used to sterilze certain foods, food-grade enzymes, spices, cosmetics, animal feeds, hides and hair and many other items. It has been approved in about 50 countries, include Japan which has more concern to radiation as other countries. It is endorsed by the World Health Organization. Chances are you have already consumed irradiated products.

Imagine bacon and milk which doesn't need to be refrigerated until the package is opened. Image going on a one-week camping trip and eating a steak which has not been refrigerated the entire time. Exposing onions to Cobalt 60 retards sprouting for up to 18 months, versus 90-days for those untreated. It can extend the shelf-life of fresh fruits and vegetables from one day to several weeks.

It does slightly alter the composition of products exposed to it; however, extensive research has not proven any impact on health. This slight alteration caused Congress in 1958 to declare irradiation to be a food additive, thus FDA approval was necessary. Basically it does not alter foodstuff anymore than canning or freezing today.

Approval has been around for a number of years for items such as grains, potatoes and poultry. It has only been recently approved for beef.

It is an expensive process and thus not likely to be used for all cuts. Its use initially on beef will likely be on processed raw products, such as hamburger. It must be noted once irradiation the product must be kept in a sterile environment. Otherwide exposure will start the spoilage process again. Vacumm sealing is the best method for meats.

The international logo for irradiated products is a circle with the top half broken into four segments. Inside that are two leaves which meet at the bottom with a solid dot above them.

The term 'cold processed' accurately describes the process.

It would not bother me to consume irradiate foodstuffs. However, if I owned a McDonalds I might be concerned a 'rumor' McDonalds was 'nuking' their beef would affect sales. Remember the rumors McDonalds hamburger contained Kangeroo (since some patties come from Australia) or worm meal?

-- Ken S. in WC TN (, November 06, 2000.

This might be helpful for info about irradiation:

-- Earthmama (, November 06, 2000.

Thanks for the info. Looks like if you don't raise your own, irradiated would be more prefered to the alternatives in commercially produced meat.

-- Jay Blair (, November 06, 2000.

Very informative site, Earthmamma -- and thanks for your reply to Ray on Nader's position on these issues. Anyone who wants to read it for themselves go here

I agree that to some people would read "irradiated" and fear radiation poisoning. However, there are also those who know the other things that irradiation can mean in terms of the quality of the food itself and in the debris left in/on it, and would run away screaming (I am one of them). I don't care if all the bacteria has been killed -- I do NOT want to eat the feces, pus, etc. left. Remember them okaying tumors in the meat? Puke!

IF irradiation is used, I want to know it, and I want to be able to choose NOT to eat it. When the USDA was trying to rewrite the organic food standards, they were trying to get irradiation included as acceptable. I was one of the people bombarding them with cards, letters, and emails howling their revision (lowering) of standards. Then there are things like 100's of nuclear plants to do this irradiation. Don't want THOSE either. The whole thing is a very BAD idea, foisted onto a mostly unsuspecting public. >:-[

-- Joy Froelich (, November 06, 2000.

Thanks everyone! I've been wanting to understand more about this for a long time. Very helpful......Kirk

-- Kirk Davis (, November 06, 2000.

earthmomma- I stand humbly corrected.

-- ray s (, November 07, 2000.

I go to great trouble to not ever purchase irradiated food, and I demand that the government require that all foods be labeled as such. Even though I do not drink milk, it really PO's me that milk is sold without having to disclose whether it has BGH in it or not, just because someone decided for us that it was OK, yeah right! Frankly, I purchase organic whenever I can, I'm willing to pay more for it to dump the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and preservatives that are found in all non-organic food. Annie in SE OH.

-- Annie Miller (, November 07, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ