Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy * Local 488, National Joint
Council of Food Inspector Locals * Minnesota COACT* Organic Consumers Association * Oneota
Food Co-op * Public Citizen *
June 8, 2000
Minnesota’s Safe Food Link Coalition
Educates Consumers about Irradiated Food
Minnesotans Say No To Risky Irradiated Meat
Minneapolis/St. Paul – In response to the retail sale of irradiated meat in the Twin
Cities, a state-wide coalition known as Safe Food Link held a news conference and consumer
rally today at Lunds Food Store in Uptown Minneapolis.
Members of the coalition include: Minnesota Citizen’s Organized Acting
Together (MN COACT); Public Citizen; the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy; Local
488 – National Joint Council of Food Inspector Locals; Oneota Co-op; and the Organic
“The Food & Drug Administration’s claims of safety are based on some five
discredited studies on irradiated whole food. In spite of repeated and decades long
warnings, including by its senior staff, FDA has failed to require testing on concentrated
extracts and fractions of irradiated foods which is the only realistic way of detecting
carcinogenic effects, on the grounds of difficulty and expense. Furthermore, irradiated
meat has been shown in Army tests to contain high levels of the carcinogenic benzene,
besides other carcinogens admittedly implicated as ‘carcinogens or carcinogenic under
certain conditions,’ and also Unique Radiolytic (chemical) Products (URPs).
Additionally, independent studies have reported: mutagenic products in irradiated food;
genetic damage in tests of irradiated foods; chromosomal damage in rodents, primates and
children fed irradiated wheat; and dominant lethal mutations in rodents,” stated
renowned carcinogen expert and Professor of Environmental and Occupational Medicine at the
University of Illinois Medical Center’s School of Public Health in Chicago and
Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition, Dr. Samuel Epstein.
“These dangers are compounded by the catastrophic risks of nuclear accidents from
more than 1,200 nationwide nuclear facilities envisaged for large-scale food irradiation.
Feed lot and packing plant sanitation would prevent E. coli 0157 food and water poisoning
without jeopardizing the wholesomeness and safety of the nation’s food supply and
risking nuclear accidents,” added Dr. Epstein.
“Food irradiation is a technological fix that hides the real cause of food-borne
illnesses: factory feedlots,” added activist, Julie Jensen.
“Minnesota COACT regards irradiated meat as proof of unhealthy factory feedlots
which makes consumer support of independent family farms all the more important for safe
food production,” said Don Pylkkanen, executive director of Minnesota COACT.
“Irradiation masks the unsanitary pork, beef, and poultry produced by factory
feedlots and processed at the packers.”
“We applaud the coalition’s efforts to educate consumers about the risks of
eating irradiated food,” said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen‘s
Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. “Consumers is this area are not getting
both sides of the story, they haven’t been told that no long-term studies have been
done to determine the health effects of eating irradiated food. Nor have they been
informed that irradiation changes the molecular structure of food and it destroys
The Coalition has vowed to hold forums and actions similar to today’s event all
over the state. Its efforts will continue until all Minnesotans understand the risks of
eating irradiated food.