Radiated Spinach and Lettuce

The FDA has had enough of all the E. coli scares, so they’ve decided to allow the radiation of spinach and lettuce. Susan Heavey of Reuters reports:

Since then, other outbreaks have affected a variety of products, most recently Salmonella contamination in hot peppers from Mexico that surfaced earlier this summer.

"In the aftermath of the recent outbreaks, FDA wanted to fast track an important tool to help industry improve the safety of fresh produce," Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) spokesman Brian Kennedy said.

But FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek said the agency was making its decision now because it had finished reviewing all the necessary data.

Industry groups initially sought the agency's approval eight years ago to clear a wide variety of foods, including various meats and produce before amending their request to allow the agency to review certain foods first.

The FDA's review of the other foods is still ongoing.

Foods already approved for radiation treatment include meat, poultry, spices and molluscan shellfish such as oysters, mussels and clams, according to the agency.

About 76 million cases of E.coli and other types of food poisoning occur each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Patients stricken with a food- borne illness experience a wide variety of symptoms that can include abdominal cramps, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.

Unless this radiation can cause super human strength—or at the very least give me the ability to read minds—I’m pretty leery about it.

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judy - August 22, 2008 12:23 PM

What is irradiation? Is it UV-C germacidal light that radiates meats and vegetables?

Steve - August 22, 2008 1:34 PM

I believe it is even higher energy light, such as x-rays and gamma rays.

Sara - August 22, 2008 7:09 PM

It's pretty scary. One more thing to worrry about when trying to buy decent food. We don't want to eat irradiated vegetables.

Steve - August 22, 2008 7:36 PM

Yeah Sara, radiation at this high intensity is often called "ionizing radiation". Sounds like this would cause a lot of free radical damage in the food.

Brandi Magill - August 25, 2008 9:01 AM

Boy am I glad I shop in my own backyard!

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