Irradiation With Your Salad, Ma’am?
For the past few years, intense debate has raged over a relatively new food safety technique-irradiation. An article in C&EN takes a look at new developments in the policy surrounding this controversial practice. Last month, the FDA approved irradiation on fresh lettuce and fresh spinach, adding to the growing list of “acceptably” irradiated foods. We all know from the relatively recent tomato/jalapeno pepper scare that foodborne pathogens are a problem and concern for general health and safety. Theoretically, irradiation seems like a great solution; any living bacteria or viruses would (hopefully) no longer be able to reproduce. Although irradiation may be the best and safest option in the future, right now it seems like an underhanded attempt to avoid dealing with the original sources of contamination, which tends to be (sorry for those who just ate) fecal matter. Animal waste is not adequately controlled, and not only does it get into the meat itself, it gets into the water that we spray on our crops. Personally, I would prefer not to eat animal waste, dead bacteria or not. I only hope that our government decides to address the real problems, not provide a quick and easy way out.