Now I've Learned my ACBs
A. Irradiated food has not been proven safe
Speaking about 2-ACBs, the toxic molecules formed during irradiation of foods, Peter Jenkins, policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety proclaimed, "If any other food additive had as much science about health risks stacked up against it, the claim that it is safe would be laughed at" (source 1). 2-ACBs have been shown to cause “many and varied health problems in animals fed irradiated foods, including premature death, mutations and other genetic abnormalities, foetal death and other reproductive problems, immune system disorders, organ damage, stunted growth and nutritional deficiencies” (source 1). 2-ACBs are man-made chemicals – they have never been found in nature.
2-ACBs have been found in numerous [irradiated] foods that contain fat, including beef, chicken, pork, eggs, cheese, fresh- and salt-water fish, salmon, shrimp, mangoes and papayas. The types of fat from which 2-ACBs derive -- such as oleic, palmitic and stearic acids -- are contained in nearly all foods [emphasis added].
In one study, researchers found 2-ACBs in chicken that was irradiated 13 years earlier [emphasis added]. 2-ACBs are so easily detected and can be formed at such low radiation doses that they are often used as chemical "markers" to determine whether food has been irradiated. The European Union, for example, has officially adopted this technique to determine whether fat-containing foods have been irradiated (source 2).
Also, scientists discovered that they could not adequately account for most of a dose of 2-ACBs fed to rats. While very small amounts of 2-ACBs were detected in the fat of rats, most of the chemicals could not be recovered, implying that they are either stored in other parts of the body or transformed into other compounds (source 1).C. It takes generations to prove safety
An increase in concentration of a mutagen in food by irradiation will increase the incidence of cancer . . . It will take four to six decades to demonstrate a statistically significant increase in cancer due to mutagens introduced into food by irradiation . . . When food irradiation is finally prohibited, several decades worth of people with increased cancer incidence will be in the pipeline (source 2).or even worse, these cause-effect findings might be obscured by “background noise” because:
If food irradiation is adopted prematurely, research on its health effects will be hampered. Widespread use of the technology will make it impossible to detect any but the most obvious of adverse effects, because it will be impossible to define a control population for purposes of study [emphasis added]. (Quote from Donald B. Louria -- chairman of the preventative medicine department at the New Jersey Medical School in Newark, New Jersey. Quotation from June 1990, Vol. 46 No. 5, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists).
B. US Legislation is Lax
The EU only allows irradiation of “dried aromatic herbs, spices and vegetable seasonings,” while the US allows irradiation of meat, eggs, wheat, and fruits and vegetables, in addition to herbs, spices, and seasonings. Now the FDA plans to loosen labeling requirements so that irradiated food can be labeled as “pasteurized”.
How to Avoid Irradiated Foods:
BUY ORGANIC. Especially meat products and eggs, but also fruits and vegetables, wheat, and spices. Concerned about the fidelity of the organic label? Buy local whenever possible.
PREPARE YOUR OWN FOODS. Pre-packaged and prepared foods are exempt from labeling if only some of the ingredients are irradiated. For similar reasons, avoid eating in restaurants and cafeterias.