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Pros and Cons of Food Irradiation

             There have been many views on Food Irradiation and its safety. There is a continuous battle between scientists, doctors and environmental groups. The Center for Consumer Research says that there are many myths about Irradiation and it makes food safer and more resistant to spoilage. Other advantages are believed that food can be kept longer and in better condition. The counter points to Food Irradiation loads food with free radicals, which are very harmful chemicals. These chemicals have been associated with the onset of cancer and early aging says H. Julius of Friends of the Earth. Irradiation also changes the structure of certain fruits causing them to become damaged and unacceptable. There is a fear that Irradiation will cause nuclear waste.
             There have been a lot of myths about Food Irradiation. One myth is that if food production and process facilities were cleaner that Food Irradiation would not be necessary. In fact Irradiation produces a high quality product with greater worker and environmental safety. The Center for Consumer Research thinks Irradiation as a "positive move along the continuum of safety" (Davis 1). Another myth discussed is that Irradiation is not safe. Respected national and international organizations, such as the American Medical Association, Center for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization endorse the safety of Irradiated foods according to the Center for Consumer Health. The Cobalt used in Food Irradiation facilities could be "recycled" to sterilize medical equipment and does not create radioactive waste to the environment. .
             Food Irradiation is an alternative to some chemical treatments in crop storage. It also provides a higher quality fruit from insect quarantine areas. Irradiation destroys insects, fungi that cause food to spoil, and bacteria that cause food borne illness. At low-to-medium dose levels, food irradiation kills Salmonella and Campylobacter.

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