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An October 15 New York Times piece by Marian Burros contained misleading information about the safety of irradiated foods. Ms. Burros must have been convinced about the toxic effects of irradiated foods, since she quoted and echoed the views of Public Citizen and the Center for Food Safety, well known for their stances against food irradiation technology.

The facts, contrary to Burros' article, are:

(i) It is the European Commission (EC), not the European Parliament, which has jurisdiction over issuing directives (regulations) on irradiated foods. Neither the European Parliament nor the EC put the "moratorium on almost all irradiated foods," but the latter issued a directive in 1999 that approved irradiated aromatic herbs, spices, and seasonings,...

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), applauded President George W. Bush for nominating Dr. Elsa Murano for the office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA'S) Undersecretary for Food Safety.

Dr. Murano is the director of the Center for Food Safety at Texas A&M University. Her research on food safety has included studies of a variety of disease-causing organisms, including E. coli O157: H7. She is a recognized expert on the use of irradiation to improve the safety of foods, and has edited and authored books on that topic.

The Senate must confirm Dr. Murano's nomination as undersecretary before she can assume the office. The USDA is responsible for overseeing the production, inspection, grading, and safety of meat and poultry products. It has...

On May 29, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released specifications for purchase of irradiated ground beef for use in school lunches, though the decision to order irradiated beef will be made by local school districts. The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH), a consortium of more than 350 physicians and scientists, urges local school boards and parents to familiarize themselves with the safety benefits of the irradiated ground beef that is now available for the National School Lunch Program.

Irradiation of red meat was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) late in 1997, the USDA established rules for its use in 1999, and food processors have been slowly adopting the process. Recently, a number of large supermarkets, fast food outlets, and direct...

ACSH staffers this morning lauded Los Angeles Times writer Elena Conis for her comprehensive and informative article on the many benefits of food irradiation, an effective yet underused method of preventing food-borne infection that has been around for the last century. Using low-dose X-rays, electron beams, or gamma rays, food irradiation has the potential to protect a wide variety of products, including produce and meat, and kills toxigenic E. coli as well.

Even though neither the electron-beams nor X-rays used in food irradiation contain radioactive elements, all irradiated food must be labelled with an...

The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) today called on the Food and Drug Administration to approve irradiation of beef to limit Americans' exposure to E. coli bacteria

ACSH noted that a petition to the FDA has been pending since 1994 to authorize the use of irradiation on beef but no action yet has been taken. At least five children have died from eating E. coli -contaminated Jack-in-the-Box hamburgers, and there have been at least 12 cases of illnesses due to the latest incident that resulted in a recall of 25 million pounds of hamburger by Hudson Beef. Dr. Elizabeth M. Whelan, ACSH President noted that, "Had irradiation been used, these deaths and illnesses could have been avoided. But the government has failed to properly react to the situation. Instead of...

A December 18, 2006 Wall Street Journal piece notes that irradiation of food would help fight food-borne illness, quoting ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan and the author of ACSH's report on Irradiated Foods, Paisan Loaharanu:

The Centers for Disease Control concluded its investigation by noting: "An overwhelming body of scientific evidence demonstrates that irradiation does not harm the nutritional value of food, nor does it make the food unsafe to eat." According to Paisan Loaharanu, a former director at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "The safety of irradiated...

For some reason, Marion Burros of the New York Times seems to have it in for food irradiation. In an article published in the Times on January 29 ("The Question of Irradiated Beef in Lunchrooms"), Ms. Burros and some authorities she quotes mislead readers about the proposed irradiation of beef used in school lunch programs.

Contrary to her opinion, food irradiation has indeed been quite widely tested over the past five decades. These tests included feeding studies, across multiple generations, of several species of animals with diets composed mostly or solely of irradiated foods. While such animal tests are...

A recent article in USA Today describes how big business can have an impact on food safety. The agricultural industry is increasingly dominated by a handful of high-volume producers, which means no contamination incident is small in size or scope. Add to this the problem of an outdated food-surveillance system that can’t really police the nation’s entire food supply and often prioritizes risks poorly.

So how does big business impact our food system? Is it a good thing to have a few high-volume producers? With the big E.coli outbreak this summer from meat (three batches of hamburger were found contaminated and were responsible for making at least forty...

New York, NY May 1, 1998. The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) today stated that the recent recall of more than one-quarter million pounds of ground beef emphasizes the need for a safety step that can be applied at the final stage of ground meat processing. That step is irradiation.

ACSH notes that only irradiation and no other safety process such as steam or ozone processing can be applied to ground beef after it is packaged. Stated Dr. Ruth Kava, ACSH director of nutrition, The unique benefit of irradiation is that it is done at the end of processing, so it's less likely that contaminated ground beef will leave the plant.

The largest American meat packer, IBP Inc., tried to recall the ground beef when it was notified that the U.S. Department of Agriculture...

In light of the latest recall of ground beef because of contamination by potentially lethal E. coli O157:H7 bacteria, scientists and physicians associated with the American Council on Science and Health today urged consumers to demand that such products be irradiated to prevent future illnesses.

On July 19, the USDA expanded an earlier recall of ground meat products produced by ConAgra to include approximately 19 million pounds of ground beef products. Thus far, nineteen people have been reported to have become ill after consuming ground beef produced by ConAgra between April 12 and July 11, 2002.

E. coli O157:H7 is a particularly virulent strain of bacteria that was responsible for causing the deaths of four children and illnesses in hundreds of people who ate...