For Immediate Release:
July 31, 2000
Consumers Reject Irradiated Meat in Florida: CampaignSucceeds in Educating Consumers about the Hazards of Food “Treated” withRadiation
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two Florida grocers halted sales of irradiated meat due to lack ofconsumer interest, which resulted in paltry sales. DeLoachs Meat Market in Lakelandand Stuarts Fine Foods in Stuart decided to stop selling experimental food productsto their customers just days after sales began.
“Florida consumers have exercised the wisdom not to serve unwholesome food totheir families. They have voted with their pocketbooks, and the loser in this election isirradiation,” said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizens Critical MassEnergy and Environment Program. “Once consumers know the facts about thisunder-studied, over-hyped technology, they see through the food industryssmokescreen and refuse to take chances with their families health and safety.”
The decision by the two locally owned merchants represents a failure byirradiation proponents to convince the public that food “treated” with theequivalent of tens of millions of chest x-rays is safe for them to eat, Hauter said.
“Its what weve said all along: Consumers are not interested in thisproduct,” said M.J. Williamson, organizer for the Florida Consumer Action Network.”The beef industry is pushing this stuff onto the public. But consumers want clean,wholesome food. They will not settle for anything less.”
Irradiation, touted as a way to kill food-borne pathogens, has numerous harmfulside-effects, including the destruction of vitamins and nutrients, poor flavor andtexture, and the generation of chemical compounds whose possible effects on the body havenot been fully studied. Federal government officials have legalized this technologydespite a half-century worth of research revealing serious health problems in lab animalsthat have eaten irradiated food, including premature death, cancer, immune andreproductive problems, liver and kidney dysfunction, and chromosomal damage.
Public Citizen is leading a national campaign to stop the use of high levels ofradiation to “treat” food. More than 200 consumer, environmental and labororganizations representing more than 1 million people have joined this effort. In Florida,the campaign is being led by the Florida Consumer Action Network.