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FDA proposes softening label requirements for irradiated foods[To be called ”pasteurized”]
AP ^ | 03 April 2007 | AP

Posted on 04/06/2007 11:31:51 PM PDT by Dacb

WASHINGTON - The government proposed Tuesday relaxing its rules on labeling of irradiated foods and suggested it may allow some products zapped with radiation to be called ”pasteurized.”

The Food and Drug Administration said the proposed rule would require companies to label irradiated food only when the radiation treatment causes a material change to the product. Examples includes changes to the taste, texture, smell or shelf life of a food.

The FDA also proposed letting companies use the term ”pasteurized” to describe irradiated foods. To do so, they would have to show the FDA that the radiation kills germs as well as the pasteurization process does. Pasteurization typically involves heating a product to a high temperature and then cooling it rapidly.

In addition, the proposal would let companies petition the agency to use additional alternate terms other than ”irradiated.”

The FDA posted the proposed revisions to its rules on irradiated foods on its Web site Tuesday, a day before they were to be published in the Federal Register. FDA will accept public comments on the proposal for 90 days. A consumer group immediately urged the FDA to drop the idea.

”This move by FDA would deny consumers clear information about whether they are buying food that has been exposed to high doses of ionizing radiation,” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement.

The FDA acknowledges in the proposed rule that allowing alternative ways of describing irradiation could confuse consumers: ”Research indicates that many consumers regard substitute terms for irradiation to be misleading,” the proposal reads in part. FDA officials were not immediately available for comment.

A 1984 FDA proposal to allow irradiated foods to go label-free garnered the agency more than 5,000 comments. Two years later, it reversed course and published a final rule that requires the small number of FDA-regulated foods now treated with radiation to bear identifying labels, including the radiation symbol.

Foods still require FDA approval before they can be irradiated. Examples currently radiated include a small number of fruits, vegetables, spices and eggs. The technique kills bacteria but does not cause food to become radioactive.

Recent outbreaks of foodborne illness have revived interest in irradiation, even though it is not suitable for all food products. For example, irradiating diced Roma tomatoes makes them go mushy, the FDA says.

The proposed rule would apply only to foods regulated by the FDA. However, if and when the rule is finalized, the Department of Agriculture could undergo a similar process to change the irradiation labeling requirements for the foods it regulates, including meat and poultry, said Amanda Eamich, a spokeswoman for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.


TOPICS: Government; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: fda; foods; irradiated

1 posted on 04/06/2007 11:31:52 PM PDT by Dacb
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To: Dacb
Cool, anything that improves the quality and safety of available foods is a good thing.

Now, sitting back and waiting for the fear mongers to come forward with their Tales of Horror...
2 posted on 04/06/2007 11:35:29 PM PDT by Dr.Zoidberg (Mohammedanism - Bringing you only the best of the 6th century for fourteen hundred years.)
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To: Dacb

Good. Irradiated foods are safe.


3 posted on 04/06/2007 11:37:20 PM PDT by mysterio
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To: mysterio

Astronauts have been on irradiated foods for decades now. It is quite apparent that it is safe.

I believe contaminants that cause ‘Mad Cow’ disease still can’t be eliminated by irradiation. Or has that changed?


4 posted on 04/06/2007 11:41:31 PM PDT by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: CarrotAndStick

Prions are not stopped by irradation.


5 posted on 04/06/2007 11:44:04 PM PDT by John Will
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To: Dacb

I buy organic meat, veggies and dairy products. Keep it local and keep it clean is my motto.


6 posted on 04/06/2007 11:49:23 PM PDT by Free Thinking Conservative
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To: CarrotAndStick
No, irradiation wouldn't destroy prions.

From the CDC :

Prions are characterized by extreme resistance to conventional inactivation procedures including irradiation, boiling, dry heat, and chemicals (formalin, betapropiolactone, alcohols).
7 posted on 04/07/2007 12:16:27 AM PDT by mysterio
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To: Dacb; Dr.Zoidberg

It’s about time! How long’s it been now, 30, 40 years? .............. FRegards


8 posted on 04/07/2007 12:27:01 AM PDT by gonzo (I'm not confused anymore. Now I'm sure we have to completely destroy Islam, and FAST!!)
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To: Dacb

I’m not against radiation.

The changing of language to control people is absolutely disgraceful, and there SHOULD be public outrage, and the paperpushers who were lobbied into tabling this proposal should be fired, and the companies and lobbyists who pushed this should be publicly named and disgraced.

The question is not, “Why not?”, the question is based on the precautionary principle, “Why should the consumer lose his right to clear and precise information and the ability to maintain a Precautionary Principle in regard to the the very sustenance he feeds his and his family’s bodies?”

Trade groups, lobbyists and bureaucrats should NOT have the power to change the definition of a word, definition of a process that has saved hundreds of millions of people from death and suffering over the last century.

And they justify this by potential increased profit. Not by potential increased public health.


9 posted on 04/07/2007 12:31:34 AM PDT by JerseyHighlander
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To: mysterio

Prions are very mysterious things, and I’m not sure there is real agreement as to whether they even exist.

It is clear that there are malformed proteins in Mad Cow, but whether they were made that way by “prions” or not... well maybe the jury is still out on that question.

If they don’t really exist, than that would explain why it’s so hard to destroy them.


10 posted on 04/07/2007 12:43:45 AM PDT by John Valentine
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To: CarrotAndStick
Astronauts have been on irradiated foods for decades now. It is quite apparent that it is safe.

At least until Nowak's defense team gets hold of that tidbit. "Yeah, it was the irradiated food that fired her brain, that's the ticket!"

11 posted on 04/07/2007 2:56:50 AM PDT by NonValueAdded (Prevent Glo-Ball Warming ... turn out the sun when not in use)
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To: Dacb

I’ve got nothing against irradiating food to keep it fresh, but the technique will then likely be used to make up for poor sanitation in food handling. S**t in food is still s**t, even if the bacteria have been safely irradiated.


12 posted on 04/07/2007 4:04:14 AM PDT by 6SJ7
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To: John Valentine
It is clear that there are malformed proteins in Mad Cow, but whether they were made that way by “prions” or not...

Those malformed proteins are the prions. They then act as a misshapen cookie-cutter for new proteins of the same kind being created by the cells in question. Theoretically.
13 posted on 04/07/2007 4:09:40 AM PDT by newguy357
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To: Free Thinking Conservative
I buy organic meat, veggies and dairy products.

Isn't America wonderful?

There's always someone willing to cater to folks willing to pay more, and there are always people willing to spend the extra money.

Soon you'll be able to pay more for food labeled "From Non-Cloned sources." if you're willing.

14 posted on 04/07/2007 5:15:00 AM PDT by ASA Vet (The WOT should have been over on 11/5/1979.)
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To: ASA Vet

So are you being sarcastic,ignorant,or advocating everyone must eat/drive/wear/abide in cheapest/shoddiest/mas-produced commodities?


15 posted on 04/07/2007 5:28:19 AM PDT by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a creditcard?)
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To: hoosierham
"Sarcastic," yes.
"Ignorant," probably, but fortunately there are the enlighthed around to help out.
"Advocating," yes, I was advocating our freedom to choose paying more if you wish.

Lighten up Francis.

16 posted on 04/07/2007 5:40:23 AM PDT by ASA Vet (The WOT should have been over on 11/5/1979.)
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To: ASA Vet

And don’t forget LOCAL. :)


17 posted on 04/07/2007 6:10:07 AM PDT by Free Thinking Conservative
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To: hoosierham

“So are you being sarcastic,ignorant,or advocating everyone must eat/drive/wear/abide in cheapest/shoddiest/mas-produced commodities?”

Yes, he did seem a little hostile. Perhaps he has an agenda with irradiated foods/agribusiness.

People are free to choose what they want. I prefer to buy local food for multiple reasons. In addition to quality, it also supports the farmers/ranchers in our area.


18 posted on 04/07/2007 6:15:33 AM PDT by Free Thinking Conservative
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To: Free Thinking Conservative

Them LOCAL illegal Mexicans is a lot cleaner than them out of town illegal Mexicans.


19 posted on 04/07/2007 6:23:23 AM PDT by Comus (There is no honor in dying with your sword sheathed)
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To: Free Thinking Conservative; hoosierham
Ham didn't list "local" as one of my possible characteristics, so no response was needed on that one.
20 posted on 04/07/2007 6:28:39 AM PDT by ASA Vet (The WOT should have been over on 11/5/1979.)
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To: Free Thinking Conservative; hoosierham
I am not at all hostile. I have no connection with any agribusiness or food business of any kind. (I do plant tomatoes in the summer though.)

Your post seems to be an attempt to get Ham and I to quarreling. Sorry we've both been here long enough to not fall for it.

21 posted on 04/07/2007 6:35:02 AM PDT by ASA Vet (The WOT should have been over on 11/5/1979.)
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To: Comus

So are you being sarcastic?


22 posted on 04/07/2007 6:37:16 AM PDT by ASA Vet (The WOT should have been over on 11/5/1979.)
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To: John Valentine; newguy357; thegreatprion

Prions exist, I’m engaged to one!

After we’re married she will be the cell that incubates the future little twisted prions.


23 posted on 04/07/2007 6:40:27 AM PDT by GovernmentIsTheProblem (Capitalism is the economic expression of individual liberty. Pass it on.)
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To: Dacb

Label irradiated food as irradiated and let the consumer choose.


24 posted on 04/07/2007 10:49:30 AM PDT by jordan8
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To: John Valentine
There's a general agreement that they exist, and some characterization.

From NIH :

Prions enter brain cells and there convert the normal cell protein PrPC to the prion form of the protein, called PrPSC. When normal cell proteins transform into prions, amino acids that are folded tightly into alpha helical structures relax into looser beta sheets. More and more PrPC molecules transform into PrPSC molecules, until eventually prions completely clog the infected brain cells. The cells misfire, work poorly, or don't work at all. In mad cow disease, for example, with their brain cells running amuck, the mad cows wobble and stagger and appear fearful--their "madness" is craziness, not anger. Sheep and goats with the disease scrapie, which is like mad cow disease, become so uncomfortable and itchy that they frantically rub up against anything they can, finally scraping off--hence, the name of the disease--most of their wool and hair (2).

Here are some articles from PBS, written to be more easily understandable, with some arguments for and against prions : link
25 posted on 04/07/2007 12:05:16 PM PDT by mysterio
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To: Dr.Zoidberg
Cool, anything that improves the quality and safety of available foods is a good thing.

I agree. But I'm guessing that you are not really a doctor since it doesn't bother you that government bureaucrats are changing the definition of a process that has protected the public health for 150 years. Irradiation is not pasteurization.

26 posted on 04/07/2007 12:22:06 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: Free Thinking Conservative

Same here.


27 posted on 04/07/2007 12:23:45 PM PDT by kalee (The offenses we give, we write in the dust; Those we take, we write in marble. JHuett)
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To: wideminded
No, I’m not a doctor. Are you?

There are many people who are so irrationally terrified of the word radiation they would starve before eating a food product that had been irradiated even though that food item was as safe as the heat pasteurized item.

If the process of pasteurization and the process of irradiation reach the same end result, what’s the difference? Who is harmed? Someone obviously came to injury considering the outrage, right? Right?

Dead bacteria are dead bacteria. They aren’t going to cause harm no matter how they were killed. Steam or radiation bombardment, they are dead and likely to stay that way.

So if the FDA decides to expand the definition of pasteurization to include foods that have been treated by the irradiation process AND there is ABSOLUTELY ZERO HARM DONE, what’s the problem? The FDA alters, expands, contracts and modifies definitions on a regular basis. Like any government body, it changes depending on who is in charge and who screams loudest. It’s the way business is done on the federal, state and local level.

Am I worried that they are changing? Not really. Will this change cause harm? No. Are there some who will look for any wedge issue to shove their Luddite agenda into the main stream? Absolutely.

28 posted on 04/07/2007 12:47:31 PM PDT by Dr.Zoidberg (Mohammedanism - Bringing you only the best of the 6th century for fourteen hundred years.)
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To: Dr.Zoidberg; Dacb
It has been pointed out many times on FR that conservatives trust people to think, whereas liberals assume everyone is stupid.

This is a case where the government and the owners of food irradiation plants are going with the most-people-are-stupid theory.

The reason for the name change is the same reason that "nuclear magnetic resonance" became "magnetic resonance" - marketing.

Personally I would feel safer knowing my food has been irradiated. But I still think I have a right to know. Changing the names of things seems like just another kind of PC.

BTW somebody better be keeping track of the cobalt rods used in food irradiation, especially since we are importing more of our food. In the past similar rods used in hospital equipment have ended up in scrap heaps where they were misused with bad results.

In one case in Mexico some of the rods were melted down and used to make steel. This was exported to the US. The problem was only detected when a truck full of radioactive rebar accidentally drove onto the grounds of a US government laboratory where there were radiation detectors.

29 posted on 04/07/2007 1:49:43 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: wideminded

I,for one, don’t care for the Mad Hatter Dictionary;words have accepted standardized meanings and this particular change and similar ones are the lazy,dishonest way of quieting public fears.

Incidentally many people are scared of anything associated with the word “radiation” to the extent electric heaters now are “radiant heaters” in the sales brochure....

Why did our great grandparents learn so much in 8 years of school while our current population learn so little in 16 years?


30 posted on 04/10/2007 4:28:16 PM PDT by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a creditcard?)
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To: ASA Vet

I’ve been here since 1998 though my screen name doesn’t show it. Not trying to start arguments. :)


31 posted on 04/20/2007 12:41:19 AM PDT by Free Thinking Conservative
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To: ASA Vet

More info. I’ve been on FR like I said since 1998 and there seems to be growing intolerance for others’ views, even if conservative. One reason I don’t come here as often as I used to.

Freedom to buy the kind of food you want and talk about it shouldn’t be a big deal. If you want to spend more for better food, then why not? I might also add that it creates a new market for an improved product. More entrepreurial opportunities.

Further, there aren’t too many illegals working on farms in my local area. They’re generally employed in the construction trades and landscaping.


32 posted on 04/20/2007 12:53:39 AM PDT by Free Thinking Conservative
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