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Food Irradiation -USDA Input on Pending Decision



Radsafe:

Copied below is a rather long post from an anti-nuclear list server called 

DOEWatch asking that this position statement be used along with the supplied 

draft letter to communicate with the USDA opposing food irradiation. These 

groups suggest that a reader's opinions be called or  faxed to USDA and that 

this post be distributed widely to any group with a possible interest in this 

matter. 



Since some members of Radsafe may have their own opinion about the 

theoretical hazards vs. actual benefits of  of food irradiation and in light 

of recent media reports [last night's Dateline NBC] about food poisoning from 

virulent strains of E. Coli and other bacteria causing 5,000 deaths per year 

in US; 250,000 or so hospitalizations; and 76,000,000 cases of food poisoning 

overall according to CDC [my best recollection of numbers quoted on air], 

perhaps a bit of balance is needed.



Stewart Farber

Consulting Scientist

Public Health Sciences

[802] 496-3356

email: SAFarberMSPH@cs.com

=======

Subj:    [DOEWatch] Dr Samuel Epstein On Food Irradiation & Call, Fax USDA NOW

Date:   4/10/01 5:13:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

From:   smirnowb@ix.netcom.com (Bill Smirnow)

To: doewatch@yahoogroups.com (DOE-Watch List), downwinders@egroups.com 

(Downwinders List), Nucnews@egroups.com (Nucnews List)







 Please  call Secretary Ann Veneman of USDA at: 202-720-2791  & Fax her at:

202-720-2166 [http://www.usda.gov] to regester your protests to food being

both irradiated and disengenously labelled. Please Call and/or Fax by

Wednesday April 11th. If you read or hear this after that day please STILL

call, write and/or fax her, often there are last minute extensions.





 -Bill Smirnow







 Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2001 17:06:47 -0400

From: "Noel Petrie" <npetrie@citizen.org>

Subject: Administration Proposal to Serve Irradiated Beef to School

        Children Poses Cancer, Genetic and Other Risks, Warns Samuel S.

        Epstein, M.D.

X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by pop.snet.net id

f36LEsT13611



Press Release



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE



Administration Proposal to Serve Irradiated Beef to School Children Poses

Cancer, Genetic and Other Risks, Warns Samuel S. Epstein, M.D.



CHICAGO, April 6, 2001. The recent proposal by the Bush Administration to

allow irradiated ground beef into the National School-Lunch Program will

endanger the health of tens of millions of school children and should be

withdrawn immediately.



        "The government's assertion that irradiated food is safe for human

consumption does not even pass the laugh test," states Samuel S. Epstein,

M.D., emeritus professor of environmental medicine at University of Illinois

School of Public Health, Chicago. "Exposing America's school children to the

hazards of irradiated food is reckless negligence, compounded by the absence

of any warning to parents".



        Irradiated meat is a very different product than natural meat. This

is hardly surprising as the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approved

irradiation dosage of 450,000 rads is approximately 150 million times

greater than that of a chest x-ray. Apart from high levels of benzene, new

chemicals known as "unique radiolytic products" were identified in

irradiated meat

in U.S. Army tests in 1977 and recognized as carcinogenic. Later tests

identified other chemicals shown to induce genetic toxicity.



In sharp contrast to FDA's claims of safety, based on grossly inadequate

testing which fails to meet the agency's minimal standards and which were

explicitly rebutted by its own expert committees, there is well-documented

scientific evidence that eating irradiated meat poses grave risks of cancer

and genetic damage. Irradiated meat is also highly susceptible to

cross-contamination with food poisoning bacteria.



        Nevertheless, the meat and irradiation industries, with FDA's

complicity, are lobbying aggressively to sanitize the agency's weak labeling

requirements for irradiated meat and other food by eliminating the word

"irradiated" in favor of "electronic (or cold) pasteurization". This

euphemistic absurdity would circumvent consumer's fundamental right-to-know.



        Furthermore, irradiation masks grossly unsanitary conditions in

slaughterhouses and meat processing plants. Irradiation is thus a major

disincentive to decades-long overdue basic sanitary practices essential for

the prevention of Salmonella, E.coli O157:h7, and other pathogenic food

poisoning. While irradiation kills most bacteria in meat, pork and poultry,

it does nothing to prevent gross fecal and other contamination.



        Warnings on the hazards of irradiated food were endorsed in a recent

publication, in the world's leading peer-reviewed public health journal, by

a wide range of national and international experts including:



Dr. Neal Barnard, President, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,

Washington, D.C.; Dr. John Gofman, Emeritus Professor, Molecular and

Radiation Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California; Dr. Jay

M. Gould, Director, Radiation and Public Health Project, U.S.A.; Dr. Vyvyan

Howard, Professor of Pathology, University of Liverpool, U.K.; Dr. David

Kriebel, Professor of Epidemiology, University of Massachusetts, Lowell,

Massachusetts; Dr. Marvin Legator, Professor of Preventive Medicine,

University of Texas, Galveston, Texas; Dr. E. Lichter, Professor of

Community Medicine, University of Illinois Medical School, Chicago,

Illinois; Dr. William Lijinsky, former Director, Chemical Carcinogenesis,

Frederick Cancer Research Center, Maryland; Dr. Sheldon Margen, Emeritus

Professor of Public Health Nutrition, University of California, Berkeley,

California;  Dr. Vicente Navarro, Professor of Health and Public Policy, The

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, Professor of Political and

Social Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain; Dr. Herbert Needleman,

Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh,

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Dr. Robert Rinehart, Emeritus Professor of

Biology, San Diego State University, California; Dr. George Tritsch, Cancer

Research Scientist, Roswell Park Memorial Institute, New York State

Department of Health, New York; Dr. Quentin Young, past President, American

Public Health Association, Chicago, Illinois



CONTACT: Samuel S. Epstein, M.D., emeritus professor environmental and

occupational medicine, University of Illinois School of Public Health,

Chicago, and Chairman of the Cancer Prevention Coalition

Web site: http://www.preventcancer.com





 PLEASE FORWARD THIS VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE TO ANY AND ALL GROUPS THAT YOU

HAVE ADDRESSES FOR. YOU CAN ALSO SEND A E-MAIL MESSAGE TO Jessica Vallette

Revere, jvrevere@citizen.org, TO INQUIRE ABOUT INDIVIDUAL SIGNATURES. ALSO

START LETTING YOUR SCHOOL SYSTEMS KNOW HOW OUTRAGED YOU ARE AT LEARNING

ABOUT THIS HAPHAZARD AND DANGEROUS SCHEME USING OUR CHILDREN AS GUINEA PIGS

AND THAT YOU DEMAND TO KNOW IF YOUR SCHOOL SYSTEM WILL BE ENGAGED IN SERVING

IRRADIATED MEATS.

Sal

##############################################################



  ----- Original Message -----

  From: "Noel Petrie" <NPETRIE@citizen.org>

  To: <foodcampaign@lists.citizen.org>

  Sent: Thursday, April 05, 2001 5:14 PM

  Subject: Sign-on to letter RE: Irradiation of school lunches



  Apologies for cross postings.



  Dear Fellow Anti-Food Irradiation Campaigners,



  Today the Bush administration indicated that the government will likely

  purchase irradiated meat for schools.  Please sign-on to this letter to

Ann

  Veneman, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, indicating

  this is unacceptable. Please send your  name and organization to Jessica

  Vallette Revere, jvrevere@citizen.org, by Wednesday, April 11.



  Thanks for all of your hard work and continued support.



  Sincerely,



  Jessica Vallette Revere

  Public Citizen Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program

  Food Irradiation Campaign

  202-454-5174

  www.citizen.org/cmep





  April 5, 2001



  Honorable Ann Veneman, Secretary

  U.S. Department of Agriculture

  14th Street and Independence Avenue, S.W.

  Washington, DC 20250





  Dear Secretary Veneman:



  We, the undersigned, are writing to oppose any action taken by the U.S.

  Department of Agriculture to allow the purchase of irradiated beef for the

  National School Lunch Program, and approving the use of irradiation to

treat

  meat that is used in that program.



  We strongly urge you to reverse your position for the following reasons:



   Notwithstanding the approval granted by the Food and Drug Administration

  and by your department, food irradiation has not been proven to be safe

for

  human consumption.  The Food and Drug Administration failed to follow its

  own protocol for approving irradiation as a food additive in accordance

with

  21 CFR 170.20 and 170.22.  Until the FDA completes its work on this

  technology, no further approval should be granted by any U.S. government

  agency on the use of irradiation.



   The World Health Organization is currently conducting studies on the

  harmful effects of 2-DCB, a chemical that is formed when meat is

irradiated.

  There has been at least one study conducted by German scientists that has

  shown that this chemical can cause significant DNA damage in rats

(citation

  of German study).  Until these studies are completed, the U.S. government

  should cease its approval of irradiation.



   Irradiating food causes it to lose key vitamins and vital enzymes, such

as

  vitamins A, B1, C, K, and E.



   Current labeling regulations do not require restaurants, hospitals or

  schools to inform consumers that food that they have prepared has been

  irradiated.  Students and parents will not be informed that the meat

  prepared in school cafeterias has been irradiated unless the school

  personnel take the initiative to inform them of this fact.  Your action is

  putting school districts in the unenviable position of deceiving parents

and

  students by not informing them that meats in the school lunch program have

  been irradiated.  They have a right to know what is being fed to them.



   Your proposed action fails to address the need for improved sanitary

  conditions in slaughtering and processing facilities, and in the handling

of

  food within school cafeterias.  It is a placebo.  Irradiating food will

not

  make it safer if the conditions under which it is slaughtered, processed

and

  prepared is unsanitary.



  Your proposed actions are irresponsible.  Instead of ensuring that the

food

  we feed consumers, and in particular, our children is safe and wholesome,

  you seem to be more interested in increasing industry profits and making

it

  easier for it to shirk its responsibility to consumers.   Your action is a

  bail-out of the food irradiation industry that is facing a skeptical

  consuming public about the safety of its products.  We strongly urge you

to

  reverse your position on this important public health issue.



  Sincerely,



  Your Group





  COMMUNITY NUTRITION INSTITUTE

  FARM SANCTUARY

  GLOBAL RESOURCE ACTION CENTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT (GRACE)

  HUMANE FARMING ASSOCIATION

  NATIONAL CATHOLIC RURAL LIFE CONFERENCE

  ORGANIC CONSUMER ASSOCIATION

  PUBLIC CITIZEN' CRITICAL MASS ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM

  STANDING FOR TRUTH ABOUT RADIATION (STAR)

CT chapter CITIZENS AWARENESS NETWORK (CAN)





Rosemary Bassilakis & Sal Mangiagli

Citizens Awareness Network

54 Old Turnpike Road

Haddam, CT 06438



Ph/fax 860 345-2157

ctcan@snet.net

www.nukebusters.org









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