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</P> During food irradiation, food products are exposed to ionizing radiation to extend shelf-life and kill insects, fungi and bacteria.

Scientists speak out on nuked food

During food irradiation, food products are exposed to ionizing radiation to extend shelf-life and kill insects, fungi and bacteria. Since alive published several articles questioning the safety of this procedure and whether Health Canada should allow more irradiated products, 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.

Genetically engineered foods: timeline of events

1992: The US Food and Drug Administration approves the sale of unlabelled genetically engineered (GE) foods.
1994: The first GE food, the Flavr Savr tomato, is introduced to the US market… and flops.
1996: First wide-scale commercial planting of GE crops begins in North America.
1998: The European Union (EU) demands labels on products containing GE corn or soybeans. The EU posts an anti-approval moratorium that effectively bans importation of GM foods.
1998: Dr. Arpad Pusztai is fired from the Rowett Institute, Scotland, for publicizing research showing rats fed GE potatoes developed health problems.
1999: A US study finds transgenic corn can kill monarch butterflies.
2001: Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser is taken to court by biotech giant Monsanto and found guilty of violating patent rights. Schmeiser claimed transgenic canola seeds found on his property got there by environmental means, not his own hand.
May 2003: The Supreme Court of Canada decides to hear Percy Schmeiser's appeal case against Monsanto in court.
May 2003: Governments of the US, Canada, Argentina and Egypt announce they will formally challenge the European Union's moratorium on GE foods through trade sanctions of the World Health Organization.

Resources: saveorganicwheat.org, thecampaign.org

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