Why Oppose Food Irradiation?

  • Irradiation is not necessary to prevent food borne illness and irradiation merely masks filthy conditions in slaughterhouses which cause meat to be contaminated with bacteria that cause illness.
  • Irradiation forms new chemicals in food that are known or suspected to cause cancer and birth defects; destroys vitamins and other essential nutrients; and corrupts the flavor, odor and texture of food.  A wide range of health problems have been observed in animals fed irradiated foods, including premature death, stillbirths, mutations, fatal internal bleeding, organ damage, immune system dysfunction, stunted growth and nutritional deficiencies.
  • Irradiated food does not have to be labeled when served in schools, restaurants, hospitals, or nursing homes.  Parents would not know if their children are eating irradiated meat as part of the National School Lunch Program (a change the USDA has recently implemented)
  • Irradiation exacerbates the problems faced by family farms because it opens the floodgates to imported food.
  • Irradiation contributes to the consolidation of the food industry because it extends shelf life allowing agribusiness to move their operations outside the U.S., where costs are cheaper, but labor and environmental standards are weaker.
  • The European Parliament has refused to expand the use of irradiation for additional types of food (currently restricted to spices, dried herbs, and seasonings) due to lingering health and safety concerns.
  • Irradiation facilities can create air pollution and other environmental and worker safety threats.
  • In legalizing and endorsing food irradiation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, respectively, ignored a vast amount of research suggesting that irradiated foods are not safe for human consumption.