Friday, April 06, 2007

"Pasteurized" Will Mean "Irradiated"

Orwell said, “If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.”

What comes to mind? I think of white-washing, spin, and euphemisms; if you want to paint a pretty picture of something that is perhaps not so pleasant, don’t you pick your choice of words carefully? For example, instead of calling jumping out of an airplane (before we open the parachute) “free-falling” we coin it “sky-diving.” We say “Operation Enduring Freedom” instead of . . . .

In George Orwell's 1984, newspeak is a political language designed to narrow the range of thinking among the citizenry to the point that they lack the terms to think for themselves. "Freedom" is defined as slavery and "slavery" as freedom. That should convince everyone to be happy slaves. It is not surprising that those who direct wars would want to narrow the thought of the nation behind them to thoughts of acceptance and support. (source)

And what about the assault on our food system? It appears the FDA is getting in on the linguistical disinformation act, as they are proposing to allow irradiated foods to be labeled as “cold pasteurized,” “electronic pasteurized,” or other yet-to-be-determined terms rather than “irradiated.” So even while the FDA is proclaiming food irradiation to be safe, they are attempting to downplay, in the marketplace, how our food has been “sanitized.”

Consumer confusion over labeling changes has been considered, in a calculated manner. In the words of the FDA’s Assistant Commissioner for Policy, Jeffrey Shuren:

In the short run, there may be increased consumption of irradiated food if those consumers who do not want irradiated food do not equate the alternative term with irradiation.

In other words, there won't be any public information campaigns over the label changes. I have posted several times about the health concerns of irradiated foods and I am adamant that consumers be educated and informed.

Simultaneously the FDA proposes to drop the requirement to label some foods as irradiated. Here is the proposal in its entirety:

only those irradiated foods in which the irradiation causes a material change in the food, or a material change in the consequences that may result from the use of the food, bear the radura logo and the term "irradiated," or a derivative thereof, in conjunction with explicit language describing the change in the food or its conditions of use.

Conditions of use? Now you are going to tell me how to prepare my own food too?

But don’t despair, because here is a nugget of sage advice embedded in all of this:

firms will only start using irradiation if they believe doing so will increase profits.

So there you go – vote with your money. Buy organic! To qualify as organic, a food cannot be irradiated.

The FDA will allow public comment for 90 days (ends July 3, 2007). To read the proposal, search their site for FDA-2007-0189-0001. Your result will be a page from which you can open the 16 page PDF. Here are the FDA’s instructions for commenting:

You may submit comments, identified by Docket No. 2005N-0272 by any of the following methods: Electronic Submissions Submit electronic comments in the following ways:• Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.• Agency Web site: Follow the instructions for submitting comments on the agency Web site. Written Submissions Submit written submissions in the following ways:• FAX: 301-827-6870.• Mail/Hand delivery/Courier [For paper, disk, or CD-ROM submissions]: Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. To ensure more timely processing of comments, FDA is no longer accepting comments submitted to the agency by e-mail. FDA encourages you to continue to submit electronic comments by using the Federal eRulemaking Portal or the agency Web site, as described in the Electronic Submissions portion of this paragraph. Instructions: All submissions received must include the agency name and Docket No. 2005N-0272 or Regulatory Information Number (RIN) for this rulemaking. All comments received will be posted without change to, including any personal information provided. For detailed instructions on submitting comments and additional information on the rulemaking process, see the Comments heading of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document. Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to insert the docket number, found in brackets in the heading of this document, into the Search box and follow the prompts and/or go to the Division of Dockets Management, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Information Collection Provisions: Submit written comments on the information collection provisions to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget (OMB).To ensure that comments on the information collection are received, OMB recommends that written comments be faxed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, OMB, Attn: FDA Desk Officer, FAX: 202-395-6974.

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At April 06, 2007 7:37 PM, Blogger PeakEngineer said...

There are some cases where terms with unfairly negative connotations prevent people from getting past their irrational fears and gaining access to potentially life-saving technology. For instance, "Nuclear Magnetic Resonance" was renamed to "Magnetic Resonance Imaging" -- the MRI many of us have come to appreciate. People weren't using it initially because the word "nuclear" was included in the name of the procedure.

Now, before you pointed out on your blog that there are legitimate concerns with irradiated food, I thought it fell in the same category as MRIs -- it was merely a name irrationally associated with fear. However, this certainly seems waaaay premature to be trying to lull consumers into eating something that could be even more dangerous than the crap they already get fed. The FDA is making a big mistake here, and shouldn't remove the fear barriers that make people actually question the safety of some of their food.

At April 11, 2007 2:22 PM, Blogger Jade said...

Thank you for your rational response, Peak Engineer.

The only thing you have to worry about with NMR (& MRI) machines is having your credit card's magnetic strip erased of information. Tee hee. That happened to someone I knew.

When you start shooting radiation at molecules, you inevitably form free-radicals. Free-radicals can do a lot of damage inside of the body, if left unchecked.

More Information (PDF)

At April 13, 2007 1:58 AM, Blogger ericswan said...

FDA has a long history of twisting the merds in my wouth. The definition of "healthy" as per advertising on food stuffs is yet another stunning example of a bureaucracy that knows not who they serve.

Submitting Data Bases to FDA is Voluntary

Although FDA encourages industry to submit nutrition labeling data bases to the agency for review, submission of a data base to FDA for the purpose of nutrition labeling is voluntary. The agency has not and does not intend to prescribe how an individual company is to determine nutrient content for labeling purposes.

Therefore, under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under
authority delegated to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, 21 CFR part
101 is amended as follows:


1. The authority citation for 21 CFR part 101 continues to read as

Authority: 15 U.S.C. 1453, 1454, 1455; 21 U.S.C. 321, 331, 342,
343, 348, 371; 42 U.S.C. 243, 264, 271.

2. Section 101.65 is amended by revising paragraph (d) to read as

Sec. 101.65 Implied nutrient content claims and related label

* * * * *
(d) General nutritional claims. (1) This paragraph covers labeling
claims that are implied nutrient content claims because they:
(i) Suggest that a food because of its nutrient content may help
consumers maintain healthy dietary practices; and
(ii) Are made in connection with an explicit or implicit claim or
statement about a nutrient (e.g., ``healthy, contains 3 grams of
(2) You may use the term ``healthy'' or related terms (e.g.,
``health,'' ``healthful,'' ``healthfully,'' ``healthfulness,''
``healthier,'' ``healthiest,'' ``healthily,'' and ``healthiness'') as
an implied nutrient content claim on the label or in labeling of a food
that is useful in creating a diet that is consistent with dietary
recommendations if:
(i) The food meets the following conditions for fat, saturated fat,
cholesterol, and other nutrients:


The The
If the food The fat saturated cholesterol The food
is... level must fat level level must must
be... must be... be... contain...
(A) A raw fruit Low fat as Low The N/A
or vegetable defined in saturated disclosure
Sec. fat as level for
101.62(b)( defined in cholesterol
2) Sec. specified in
101.62(c)(2 Sec.
) 101.13(h) or
(B) A single- Low fat as Low The N/A
ingredient or a defined in saturated disclosure
mixture of Sec. fat as level for
frozen or 101.62(b)( defined in cholesterol
canned fruits 2) Sec. specified in
and 101.62(c)(2 Sec.
vegetables\1\ ) 101.13(h) or
(C) An enriched Low fat as Low The N/A
cereal-grain defined in saturated disclosure
product that Sec. fat as level for
conforms to a 101.62(b)( defined in cholesterol
standard of 2) Sec. specified in
identity in 101.62(c)(2 Sec.
part 136, 137 ) 101.13(h) or
or 139 of this less
(D) A raw, Less than 5 Less than 2 Less than 95 At least 10
single- grams (g) g saturated mg percent of
ingredient total fat fat per RA cholesterol the RDI\3\
seafood or game per RA\2\ and per 100 per RA and or the
meat and per g per 100 g DRV\4\ per
100 g RA of one
or more of
vitamin A,
vitamin C,
protein, or
(E) A meal Low fat as Low 90 mg or less At least 10
product as defined in saturated cholesterol percent of
defined in Sec. Sec. fat as per LS\5\ the RDI or
101.13(l) or 101.62(b)( defined in DRV per LS
a main dish 3) Sec. of two
product as 101.62(c)(3 nutrients
defined in Sec. ) (for a main
101.13(m) dish
product) or
of three
(for a meal
of: vitamin
A, vitamin
C, calcium,
protein, or
(F) A food not Low fat as Low The At least 10
specifically defined in saturated disclosure percent of
listed in this Sec. fat as level for the RDI or
table 101.62(b)( defined in cholesterol the DRV per
2) Sec. specified in RA of one
101.62(c)(2 Sec. or more of
) 101.13(h) or vitamin A,
less vitamin C,
protein or
\1\ May include ingredients whose addition does not change the nutrient
profile of the fruit or vegetable.
\2\ RA means Reference Amount Customarily Consumed per Eating Occasion
(Sec. 101.12(b)).
\3\ RDI means Reference Daily Intake (Sec. 101.9(c)(8)(iv)).
\4\ DRV means Daily Reference Value (Sec. 101.9(c)(9)).
\5\ LS means Labeled Serving, i.e., the serving size that is specified
in the nutrition information on the product label (Sec. 101.9(b)).

[[Page 56849]]

(ii) The food meets the following conditions for sodium:

If the food is... The sodium level must be...
(A) A food with a RA that is 480 mg or less sodium per RA and
greater than 30 g or 2 tablespoons per LS
(B) A food with a RA that is equal 480 mg or less sodium per 50 g\1\
to or less than 30 g or 2 tbsp.
(C) A meal product as defined in 600 mg or less sodium per LS
Sec. 101.13(l) or a main dish
product as defined in Sec.
\1\ For dehydrated food that is typically reconstituted with water or a
liquid that contains insignificant amounts per RA of all nutrients (as
defined in Sec. 101.9(f)(1)), the 50 g refers to the ``prepared''
form of the product.

(iii) The food complies with the definition and declaration
requirements in this part 101 for any specific nutrient content claim
on the label or in labeling, and
(iv) If you add a nutrient to the food specified in paragraphs
(d)(2)(i)(D), (d)(2)(i)(E), or (d)(2)(i)(F) of this section to meet the
10 percent requirement, that addition must be in accordance with the
fortification policy for foods in Sec. 104.20 of this chapter.

Dated: September 23, 2005.
Jeffrey Shuren,
Assistant Commissioner for Policy.
[FR Doc. 05-19511 Filed 9-28-05; 8:45 am


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