The regulation of irradiation in the production, processing and handling of our food, is set forth in 21 CFR 179. It has long since provided for the irradiation of meats, poultry, fruits, vegetables, spices and more and is largely controlled by the FDA, because it is considered to be a "food additive." The FDA stated purpose for approving the irradiation of our food, is to control food borne pathogens and extend shelf life.
A petition was filed by the National Food Processors Association which is now part of the notorious Grocery Manufacturers Association, to amend 21 CFR 179 to, among other things, finalize the extention of irradiation to fresh iceberg lettuce and fresh spinach. Notwithstanding numerous objections filed with requests for a stay pending a hearing, the FDA has granted the petition. In denying all requests for a stay and hearing the FDA concluded that, "...the objections do not raise issues of material fact that justify a hearing... ." Unfortunately, the FDA sounds more like a judge issuing a court decision rather than a governmental agency designed to protect the people.
Perhaps the FDA should be more concerned with the concept of "error on the side of caution" rather than extending the shelf life of our food. In the days preceding our "advanced technology," we didn't need to irradiate, bleach or label our food organic. Perhaps the reason we have created a "need" for these things today, has something to do with the ill conceived and money driven food manufacturing process in our country that is controlled by big business.
The FDA reliance on irradiation enables the problem of unsanitary production, processing and handling of our food to continue, without addressing the cause of the problem. If the FDA's job description was changed from solving problems in our food supply to masking them, then it appears that the American people did not get the memo, nor should they accept it. It has become painfully self-evident, that American consumers must remain informed and vigilant in protecting themselves.
Long Island Lawyer
Paul A. Lauto, Esq.