Food Irradiation

Does using radiation to sterilize food pose a health hazard?


American consumers demand safe food. But opponents of radiation say they should avoid food treated with radiation. Proponents of food irradiation say the process kills disease-causing organisms and retards spoilage without significantly impairing taste, texture or nutritional content. Opponents passionately disagree, noting that radiation forms new chemicals inside food that may be harmful -- especially if ingested over a lifetime. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved irradiation for several different foods, consumers and food producers seem wary. Groups opposed to irradiation have dominated the debate by exploiting one of the enduring legacies of the Atomic Age -- the public's deep-seated fear of radioactivity -- though opponents and supporters agree that irradiation can't make food radioactive.

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