CONSUMER ALERT: NEW IRRADIATION SYMBOL
By Ted Beals, M.D., Pathologist, Lab Testing Expert and
Farm-to-Consumer Foundation Board Member
Even though there are an increasing number of stickers placed on our food and food packages, many shoppers rely on these notices to alert them about important facts. Although it has been approved for some time, shoppers will begin to see a new and important sticker. The serious problem with this sticker is that it is blatantly deceptive.
In their push to convince people that they are protecting us from foodborne illnesses the federal government is moving to allow irradiation of more food items. Meat and leafy vegetables are in that growing list. First, consumers should know that the FDA has said that the word “pasteurization” is an acceptable substitute for “irradiation. Second, the package label required when food is irradiated includes the international symbol for irradiation of foods, called the “radura”.
We have been unable to determine if the symbol has an approved color. We have seen it in black and even in pink, but almost always it appears with this nice leafy green color. And sometimes with the two leafs in solid color. We will not bore you with the official explanation of the origin of this symbol. But unlike most warning labels this has absolutely nothing that would indicate that the food was treated with something potentially dangerous. It looks remarkably pleasant. If you watch this sort of thing you might realize how similar the irradiated food symbol is to the logo for the US Environmental Protection Agency.
So consumers beware. This is an important label that you will want to recognize for what it is, this food has been IRRADIATED.
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