Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

US State Department Approves Raw Meat Irradiation

The US Department of Agriculture yesterday approved food processors irradiating raw beef, pork and lamb. The agency is also being asked to approve irradiation of ready-to-eat products such as hot dogs and luncheon meats. John Howard reports.

In a move likely to have international implications because of food globalisation, the USDA has allowed processors to irradiate the food ostensibly to eliminate deadly bacteria and other organisms. The products will have to carry lables informing shoppers of the treatment.

"While there is no silver bullet to cure all food safety problems, irradiation has been shown to be both safe and effective," US Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman said.

Several companies, including ConAgra Inc, one of the largest meatpackers in the US, have said they plan to use irradiation. But processors also say the government needs to undertake a public education campaign to convince consumers that irradiation is safe.

Protesters who attended the WTO talks in Seattle are furious, saying it is not the place of the taxpayer to have to pay for nuclear irradiation education programmes further subsidising food company profits.

" The WTO rules can even bring sanctions against a country denying access to irradiated food because if they restricted it, that could be classed as a policy restriction on international trade," said Nigel Clarice of the Los Angeles-based Food Action Group.

"The people of Ukraine and Belarus are still feeling the consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster with much of their land still irradiated and a sharp increase in certain illnesses, yet the USDA approves food irradiation. It's outrageous," he said.

Irradiation of food had to be approved by both the USDA, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of meat, and the Food and Drug Administration, which has authority over food additives. The FDA approved irradiation in 1997.

"Initially, irradiated meat is likely to be the most popular in hospitals and nursing homes because of the danger E. coli bacteria poses to patients with weakened immune systems," said Carol Foreman of the Consumer Federation of America.

" I don't expect you're going to get it for sale at McDonald's any time soon. It takes a while to build the facilities," she said.

But health activists are asking if patients are old or sick, how will they be told or give their consent to being served the irradiated food in they don't buy it or see any warning label on the packaging?

"If consumers embrace the product, the industry is in the business of meeting consumer demand and we will respond with more irradiated products," said Patrick Boyle, president of the American Meat Institute.

Tim Willard, a spokesman for the National Food Processors Association, said the USDA decision was "long overdue."

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: Trump Plays Both Sides Against The Middle

Is he a hawk? Is he a peacenik? The President keeps us guessing . By Reese Erlich President Donald Trump has convinced Republican isolationists and hawks that he supports their views. That’s a neat trick, since the two groups hold opposing positions. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Waiting For The Old Bailey: Julian Assange And Britain’s Judicial Establishment

On September 7, Julian Assange will be facing another round of gruelling extradition proceedings, in the Old Bailey, part of a process that has become a form of gradual state-sanctioned torture. The US Department of Justice hungers for their man. The More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Sorry Plight Of The International Education Sector

Tourism and international education have been two of the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic. They’re both key export industries. Yet the government response to them has been strikingly different. There has been nothing beyond a few words of ministerial condolence and a $51.6 million package (details below) to get the sector through the pandemic...
More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Google’s Open Letter: Fighting Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code

Tech giants tend to cast thin veils over threats regarding government regulations. They are also particularly concerned by those more public spirited ones, the sort supposedly made for the broader interest. Google has given us an example of this ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Trump’s Current Chances Of Re-Election

By now it seems clear that National have no fresh ideas to offer for how New Zealand could avoid the Covid-19 economic crisis. As in the past, National has set an arbitrary 30% ratio of government debt to GDP that it aims to achieve “in a decade or so,” ... More>>

The Conversation: Rogue Poll Or Not, All The Signs Point To A Tectonic Shift In New Zealand Politics

Richard Shaw AAP(various)/NZ Greens (CC-BY-SA)/The Conversation Strong team. More jobs. Better economy. So say the National Party’s campaign hoardings. Only thing is, last Sunday’s Newshub-Reid Research poll – which had support for the Labour ... More>>

The Coronavirus Republic: Three Million Infections And Rising

The United States is famed for doing things, not to scale, but off it. Size is the be-all and end-all, and the coronavirus is now doing its bit to assure that the country remains unrivalled in the charts of infection . In time, other unfortunates may well ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Altars Of Hypocrisy: George Floyd, Protest And Black Face

Be wary what you protest about. The modern moral constabulary are out, and they are assisted by their Silicon Valley friends in the Social Media club. Should you dare take a stand on anything, especially in a dramatic way, you will be found out ... More>>