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</P> Food irradiation is currently one of the hottest issues in food safety. Food products are exposed to ionizing radiation to extend shelf-life and kill insects, fungi and bacteria.

Scientists Speak Out on Nuked Food

Food irradiation is currently one of the hottest issues in food safety. Food products are exposed to ionizing radiation to extend shelf-life and kill insects, fungi and bacteria. Since alive published several articles questioning whether Health Canada should allow more irradiated products in Canada, we've certainly felt the blast! But we're not the only ones speaking out"

"I am opposed to food irradiation because it is clear this process increases the levels of mutagens and carcinogens [agents] in food. The inevitable consequence of this is that in two to five decades, the incidence of cancer will increase from what we see now, in direct proportion to the amounts of irradiated food consumed." -George L. Tritsche, PhD, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY

"The large scale irradiation of food, as proposed by industry and administration, represents the largest prospective toxicological experiment in human populations in the history of public health." -Samuel S. Epstein, MD, Professor of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois at Chicago

"There are potentially serious concerns about issues of waste disposal, engineering safety, transport of radioactive material, production of new isotopes, handling by poorly trained personnel, and others we haven't even thought of yet." -Sheldon Margen, MD, Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

Web sites to check out: citizen.org, cnp.ca, hans.org, sierraclub.ca. Then drop Health Canada an e-mail at irradiation@hc-sc.gc.ca voicing your opinion.

Naturopathic Shakedown: Show Your Support

You want irony? At the same time that natural products fly off the shelves and Canadians embrace complementary practitioners, BC's naturopathic physicians must protect their scope of practice from government.

In its report, Safe Choices: A New Model for Regulating Health Professions in BC, BC's Liberal leaders propose that naturopathic physicians be unable to perform many techniques that fall within their historical expertise, such as naturopathic diagnosis, allergy testing, certain dietary techniques, physical manipulation, blood tests and other intravenous work.

What does this mean for consumers? The move may limit our access to safe, proven preventive medicine in BC, and sets a worrisome precedent for the future of naturopathic medicine elsewhere in Canada. To support your right for freedom of choice in health care, contact the BC Naturopathic Association at bcna.bc.ca or 604-736-6646, or visit alive.com ("Lobbying Letters") for a sample letter to send to appropriate officials.

Canada's Labelling Wars

In our modern food wars, the dollar is the consumer's greatest weapon. Case in point: due to demand, food manufacturing giant Heinz Canada is the first to announce that its baby foods do not contain genetically engineered ingredients. We can consider this a victory-hopefully one of many more because it appears federal attempts to get a labelling process in place have stalled.

For three years, the Canadian General Standards Board Committee on the Voluntary Labelling of Genetically Engineered Food has attempted to organize voluntary labelling rules. Now, $435,000 worth of taxpayers' money later, the board has stated it cannot reach a consensus. It is unclear what will happen next.

Polls indicate that up to 95 per cent of Canadians want mandatory-not voluntary-labelling of genetically engineered foods, as is the case in 36 other countries, according to a recent Greenpeace press release. Until such time that Canadians can be assured of 100 per cent safety, those wanting to avoid these ingredients can opt for certified organic products and check out Greenpeace's Shoppers Guide to GMO-Free Food at greenpeace.ca or call 1-800-320-7183.

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