I’m not talking about farmers, food artisans, or local food enterprises – but about the corporate giants of agribusiness that insist on torturing nature’s delicious, nutritional edibles for their own fun and profit. They take food into their labs to alter its genes, they turn grass-eating animals into cannibals, they douse fruits and veggies with toxic chemicals, they juice up milk cows with artificial sex hormones, they contaminate meat with deadly bacteria – and, now, in the name of “food safety,” they want to zap our dinner with high doses of radiation.
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In August, George W’s industry-cozy Food & Drug Administration stiffed consumer advocates and common sense by authorizing the irradiation of spinach and lettuce. Never mind that hitting food with extra-powerful X-rays causes the loss of flavor, texture, and nutrition – while also making the product more expensive – this is a weapon that Big Agbiz wants in its arsenal, so the Bushites delivered. Only a handful of irradiation units exist, meaning the food products have to be shipped hundreds of miles to be treated, thus wasting energy and further driving up costs.
What we have here is technology run amuck. Rather than simply cleaning up the industrial processes that contaminate our food, the corporate powers are demanding a quick, high-tech fix from government, consumers be damned. The next step for the contaminators is to get FDA to eliminate the “irradiated” label that’s presently required on zapped food products. The industry is asking for something more benign, like “purified.”
If they’re going to torture our food, at least they should have to tell us about it, labeling it honestly so we can decide whether we want to buy it. To get informed and involved, call the watchdog group Food and Water Watch: 202-683-2500.
“Foodmakers won’t be rushing to irradiate greens,” USA Today, August 28, 2008.