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By Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Buy organic, buy local, read labels . . . get to know the origin of your food.

A recent study published March 30, 2009 about irradiation sent me for a loop. Not just the study’s findings but how they were being disseminated.

The headline from IHealth Bulletin: Irradiated Food Causes Demyelinating Neurological Disorder.

First paragraph: “Scientists studying a mysterious neurological affliction in pregnant cats that have been fed irradiated food have discovered a surprising ability of the central nervous system to repair itself and restore function when placed back on a normal diet.”

The article goes on to discuss the “surprising ability of the central nervous system to repair itself.”

The summation: “We think it is extremely unlikely that [irradiated food] could become a human health problem,” Duncan explains. “We think it is species specific. It’s important to note these cats were fed a diet of irradiated food for a period of time” (Courtesy of Eurekalert).”

Seriously? Doesn’t anyone find it a little troubling that feeding the cats irradiated food caused a neurological disorder? Shouldn’t that be what is being discussed? For Duncan to off-handedly say “we think it is species specific.” We think? Not good enough. When it comes to feeding our children a healthy diet, “thinking” food won’t cause a neurological disorder is unbelievably negligent.

As I mentioned in Irradiation: part I, I am not a scientist. That said, I will do everything in my power to prevent my children from eating food that has been irradiated. Period.

How to Avoid Irradiated Food from Dr. Joseph Mercola

1. Fortunately, the FDA currently requires that irradiated foods include labeling with the statement “treated with radiation” or “treated by irradiation” and the international symbol for irradiation, the radura. That might change in the future, but for now avoid all foods that contain these labels.

2. You can also avoid irradiation by choosing locally grown, organic foods as much as possible. Certified organic foods may not be irradiated, and foods from a small, local farm are unlikely to be either.

3. Getting to know a farmer near you (or joining a food co-op with access to one) is one of the simplest ways to know how your food is grown and whether or not it’s irradiated.

And, I would add, growing your own food is the ultimate in trusting its origins. Another great resource is Sustainable Table. They have a lot of information about our food sources and a link to find sustainable food in your area.

I will leave you with the following quote:

The five animal studies on which the FDA based approval of irradiation in 1983 “do not document the safety of food irradiation, and why the FDA relied on them is mystifying.” Donald Louria, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine, New Jersey School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Louria: “Zapping the Food Supply.” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 1990

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GREEN TIP:  Buy organic, buy local, read labels . . . get to know the origin of your food. 

Have I been living in a cave?  Did you know that a portion of our food is being “sanitized” by irradiation?  I’m no scientist but that just seems like a bad idea.  As I understand it, gamma rays, x-rays and electrons are being used to zap our food into sanitized submission.  This irradiation supposedly ensures that our food is “safe” to eat.  But there are a lot of critics that don’t buy that rationale.  They believe irradiation is actually making our food unsafe to eat by destroying the nutritional reasons we eat the food in the first place. 

As I was researching the topic, I discovered a paper written by The Food Irradiation Campaign (FIC) that candidly discusses the inherent dangers of food irradiation.  Their conclusion is that food irradiation has serious implication for hundreds of millions of people and the technology poses many risks.  One of the many risks that, in my mind, contradicts the whole reason for irradiation is that it “kills off those bacteria that give warning smells when a product is going bad, making it harder for consumers to detect when their food is unfit for consumption.”  So, who is this supposed to be good for?

How does your body react to ingesting those yummy little morsels of radiation?  How does the earth react when we dispose or compost those irradiated peels and cores?  What kind of waste is produced during irradiation?  What is it doing to our children’s little developing minds and bodies? 

How about just demanding that our food, from start to finish, be handled properly.  Call me crazy but wouldn’t that be the safest, healthiest way to produce our food?  Right now a petition has been filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow irradiation on dietary supplements and dietary ingredients.  You can take action to let the FDA know how you feel about this issue.  Go to Organic Consumers Association and read all about it; they have a link that allows you to add your name to the list of concerned citizens. 

To ensure you and your family are getting the healthiest food possible, find out the origin of your food.  A great resource is Sustainable Table.  They have a lot of information about our food sources and a link to find sustainable food in your area.

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