Food Irradiation

June 12, 1992 • Volume 2, Issue 22
Does using radiation to sterilize food pose a health hazard?
By Richard L. Worsnop

Introduction

American consumers demand safe food. But opponents of radiation say they should avoid food treated with radiation. Proponents of food irradiation say the process kills disease-causing organisms and retards spoilage without significantly impairing taste, texture or nutritional content. Opponents passionately disagree, noting that radiation forms new chemicals inside food that may be harmful -- especially if ingested over a lifetime. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved irradiation for several different foods, consumers and food producers seem wary. Groups opposed to irradiation have dominated the debate by exploiting one of the enduring legacies of the Atomic Age -- the public's deep-seated fear of radioactivity -- though opponents and supporters agree that irradiation can't make food radioactive.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Food Safety
Jun. 16, 2017  Food Labeling
Oct. 03, 2014  Food Policy Debates
Aug. 31, 2012  Genetically Modified Food
Dec. 17, 2010  Food Safety
Jan. 26, 2007  Slow Food Movement
Nov. 01, 2002  Food Safety
Mar. 30, 2001  Biotech Foods
Sep. 04, 1998  Food Safety Battle: Organic Vs. Biotech
Jun. 04, 1993  Food Safety
Jun. 12, 1992  Food Irradiation
Nov. 08, 1991  Fast-Food Shake-up
Nov. 18, 1988  How Safe Is Your Food?
Dec. 11, 1981  Controversy Over Salt in Food
Dec. 08, 1978  Fast Food: U.S. Growth Industry
May 12, 1978  Food Additives
Dec. 26, 1969  Food Additives
Dec. 04, 1968  Synthetic Foods
Jan. 20, 1960  Food Safeguards
Feb. 09, 1952  Chemicals in Foods
Dec. 18, 1934  Revision of the Pure Food and Drugs Act
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Agriculture and the Environment
Consumer Protection and Product Liability
Nutrition