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Irradiated Foods the Next Hot Topic for Us to Ponder

Radura symbol used for irradiated food in USA ...

Many of us have become concerned about the agricultural and manufacturing practices of our food products.  Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) are a hot topic today with strong arguments from both sides baffling consumers.  GMOs are organisms that have been spliced into foods to inhibit the growth of plant pathogens or to create resistance to insects and weeds.  Monsanto is the big name most of us recognize as the manufacturer of Round-Up.  One problem facing farmers using Round-Up is that the weeds have become Super Weeds more resistant to the herbicide.  This leads to further creation of stronger herbicides to fight back the stronger weeds.  My concern for GMOs is that I don’t want to be ingesting plants that have in their tissues herbicides.  It makes me think I am eating some Round-Up with my salad.

Another practice approved over the years by the FDA is the use of irradiation to many kinds of foods.  Irradiation inhibits the growth of food borne pathogens that can cause accelerated ripening of fruits and vegetables and helps control microorganisms in meats and fish.  This equates to longer shelf lives for these irradiated foods.  Our foods often travel many miles or over several days to reach markets, so extended shelf lives is a plus for farmers and manufacturers.

Irradiation is equated to pasteurization, however; whereas pasteurization uses heat as its medium, irradiation uses a high energy beam to break the chemical bonds of pathogens.  This can maintain for the most part the integrity of most of the foods chosen for this process.  Irradiation is quite a costly endeavor and some plants have equipment that barely penetrates the surfaces of foods, while others can reach deeper into the foods.  We the consumers do not know which process has been utilized.

Four areas have been identified as useful for irradiation.  Preservation.  Since pathogens are rendered inactive reducing spoilage and decomposition, this is seen as an efficient method of food preservation.  Sterilization.  Foods can now be stored for years without refrigeration which enables many more uses of such foods such as in space flights, in military meals, and food aid organizations.  Control of sprouting and ripening.  This would allow for not using chemicals for such control over foods, especially those in transit.  Control of food borne illness.   Since pathogens are destroyed, this practice is seen as reducing the onset of such illnesses as salmonella poisoning.

I have provided information in earlier articles about the damage to our food molecules with microwaving.  This causes a denaturing which means the molecular structure changes and most of the nutrients in a nuked food are no longer bioavailable to the human body.  Since irradiation uses a beam of energy that passes into or through the food, even though it is considered a “cold process” it holds the potential as a beam/wave to create harm to the molecular structure of our foods.  At the present time, this is my opinion as I believe few studies have been absolutely conclusive as to the safety of irradiation.

Look for this symbol when purchasing foods.  This will alert you to the foods having been irradiated.

(This information was gathered from Iowa State University, Extension, Food Safety Project 1995-2014)

Krystle Shapiro, LMT, MSHN owns Touchstone Massage Therapy and her renamed nutrition practice, NewTritionally Yours!  She can be reached at (208) 290-6760(208) 290-6760(208) 290-6760

*Radura symbol used for irradiated food in USA (as legally implemented) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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