How It Hurts: Key Research on the Unwholesomeness of Irradiated Food

Despite contentions by U.S. government officials and food-industry executives that irradiated food is safe to eat and poses no threat to the environment, dozens of studies conducted over the past half-century have revealed otherwise.

From chromosomal damage in people and animals that have eaten irradiated food, to the destruction of essential vitamins and nutrients... From cell mutations to the spawning of mutant forms of bacteria... From the creation of carcinogens to the formation of bizarre new chemical compounds&

Food irradiation is a far cry from the benign technology that its backers in the public and private sectors would have you believe. In reality, food irradiation is an over-hyped, under-studied process that holds the real potential of causing more problems than it solves.

Here is a sampling of the scientific research that casts serious doubt on the wholesomeness of irradiated food:

Increased chromosomal damage in animals and humans

M.W. Shaw, E. Hayes. "Effects of irradiated sucrose on the chromosomes of human lymphocytes in vitro." Nature. 1966; 211: 1254-1256.

Vijayalaxmi and S.G. Srikantia. "A review of the studies on the wholesomeness of irradiated wheat, conducted at the National Institute of Nutrition, India." Radiat. Phys. Chem. 1989; 34: 941-952.

Formation of "Unique Radiolytic Products" in food

P.S. Elias and A.J. Cohen. Recent Advances in Food Irradiation. Amsterdam and New York: Elsevier Biomedical Press, 1983.

P.S. Elias and A.J. Cohen. Radiation Chemistry of Major Food Groups. Amsterdam and New York: Elsevier Biomedical Press, 1977.

Edward S. Josephson and Martin S. Peterson, eds. Preservation of Food by Ionizing Radiation (3 vols). Florida: CRC Press, 1982, 1983.

Increased frequency of cell mutations

A.S. Aiyar, V. Subba Rao. "Studies on mutagenicity of irradiated sugar solutions in Salmonella typhimurium." Mutation Research. 1977; 48: 17-28.

O. Parkash. "Mutagenic effect of irradiated DNA in Drosophila melanogaster." Nature. 1967; 4:611-612.

R.R. Rinehart, F.J. Ratty. "Mutation in Drosophila melanogaster cultured on irradiated food." Genetics. 1965; 52: 1119-1126.

M.S. Swaminathan, S. Nirula, A.T. Natarajan, R.P. Sharma. "Mutations: Incidence in Drosophila melanogaster reared on irradiated medium." Science. 1963; 141:637-638.

J. Wilmer, J. Schubert, H. Leveling. "Mutagenicity of gamma-irradiated, oxygenated and deoxygenated solutions of 2-deoxy-D-ribose and D-ribose in Salmonella typhimurium." Mutation Research. 1981; 90:385-397.

J. Wilmer, A.T. Natarajan. "Induction of sister chromatid exchanges and chromosome aberrations by gamma-irradiated nucleic acid constituents in CHO cells." Mutation Research. 1981; 88:99-107.

Formation of mutant bacteria

R. Davies and A.J. Sinskey. Journal of Bacteria. 1973; 113: 133-144.

W.S. Stone, O. Wyss, F. Haas. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 1947; 33: 59-66.

Decreased nutritional content in food

P.S. Elias and A.J. Cohen. Recent Advances in Food Irradiation. Amsterdam and New York: Elsevier Biomedical Press, 1983.

P.S. Elias and A.J. Cohen. Radiation Chemistry of Major Food Groups. Amsterdam and New York: Elsevier Biomedical Press, 1977.

Food Chemical News. "Irradiation compounds vitamin loss from cooking, ARS reports." Nov. 10, 1986: 42.

Edward S. Josephson and Martin S. Peterson, eds. Preservation of Food by Ionizing Radiation (3 vols). Florida: CRC Press, 1982, 1983.

Increased carcinogens and other toxins in food

Life Sciences Research Office, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. "Evaluation of the health aspects of certain compounds sound in irradiated beef." PB84-187087. Bethesda: August 1977.

Increased frequency of tumors, reduced survival rate, and other health problems in animals

Raltech Scientific Services Inc. Final Reports. Contract DAMD 17-76-C-6047. 1977-83.

Corrupted flavor and texture of food

E.K. Akamine and J.H. Moy. In Preservation of Food by Ionizing Radiation, Vol. 3 (Edward S. Josephson and Martin S. Peterson, eds). Florida: CRC Press. 1983; 129-158.

E.C. Maxie, et al. Radiation Botany. 1964; 4: 405-411.

E.C. Maxie and A. Abdel-Kader. Advances in Food Research. 1966; 15: 105-145.

E.C. Maxie el al. Proceedings of the 1st International Citrus Symposium. Vol. 3. 1969; 1375-1387.