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Food Irradiation -USDA Input on Pending Decision
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
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.
Public Health Sciences
Subj: [DOEWatch] Dr Samuel Epstein On Food Irradiation & Call, Fax USDA NOW
Date: 4/10/01 5:13:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time
From: email@example.com (Bill Smirnow)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (DOE-Watch List), email@example.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.
Date: Fri, 06 Apr 2001 17:06:47 -0400
From: "Noel Petrie" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Administration Proposal to Serve Irradiated Beef to School
Children Poses Cancer, Genetic and Other Risks, Warns Samuel S.
X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by pop.snet.net id
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
"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
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, email@example.com, 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
----- Original Message -----
From: "Noel Petrie" <NPETRIE@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
Veneman, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, indicating
this is unacceptable. Please send your name and organization to Jessica
Vallette Revere, firstname.lastname@example.org, by Wednesday, April 11.
Thanks for all of your hard work and continued support.
Jessica Vallette Revere
Public Citizen Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program
Food Irradiation Campaign
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
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
human consumption. The Food and Drug Administration failed to follow its
own protocol for approving irradiation as a food additive in accordance
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
There has been at least one study conducted by German scientists that has
shown that this chemical can cause significant DNA damage in rats
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
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
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
food within school cafeterias. It is a placebo. Irradiating food will
make it safer if the conditions under which it is slaughtered, processed
prepared is unsanitary.
Your proposed actions are irresponsible. Instead of ensuring that the
we feed consumers, and in particular, our children is safe and wholesome,
you seem to be more interested in increasing industry profits and making
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
reverse your position on this important public health issue.
COMMUNITY NUTRITION INSTITUTE
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
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