July 22, 1999
Thousands Call for Strong Labeling ofIrradiated Foods
Consumers Demand to Know When Food is Nuked
WASHINGTON, D.C. Thousands of citizens across the country have written to theFood and Drug Administration to voice their concern about the proposal to remove labelingrequirements for food treated by irradiation.
Members of the public had until July 19 to register their complaints about the FDAproposal to weaken or make temporary the labeling of poultry, meat, vegetables and otherfood products that have been irradiated.
Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy organization with 150,000 members nationwide,hand-delivered more than 1,000 comments to the FDA to oppose the anti-consumer regulationon the final day of the comment period. In addition, approximately 20,000 letters to theFDA were facilitated through the organizing efforts of Public Citizen and others. Thepublic comment period was extended from May 18 at the request of Public Citizen, otherconsumer groups and thousands of concerned Americans.
“This outpouring of letters from the American public shows that health-consciouspeople are extremely concerned that the federal government would deny them the right tochoose the kind of food they want to buy for their families,” said Wenonah Hauter,director of Public Citizens Critical Mass Energy Project. “If people want tobuy food that has been irradiated, thats fine, but they should have the ability tochoose and not have it forced down their throats.”
In April, a poll commissioned by the American Association of Retired Persons and theCenter for Science in the Public Interest found that 88.6 percent of Americans favorlabeling of irradiated food. A 1997 poll conducted by CBS News found that 73 percent ofthe public opposes irradiation, and 77 percent of the public would not want to eatirradiated food.
Public Citizen intends to meet with the FDA to ensure the public continues to beinformed about the decision-making process. The group also plans to monitor the U.S.Department of Agriculture and its efforts to introduce irradiated meat products into themarket.
See the report Food Irradiation: Do You Know WhereYour Dinner Has Been?