Friends of the Earth have done a great chemicals and food report. It also covers food irradiation.
At the moment, there is a big “behind the scenes” push to promote irradiation as the alternative to pesticides. Apparently there is to be a “phase out” of Dimethoate and a review of Fenthion. ( ooo yuk, not sure what they currently do with those, or even what they are, but it doesn’t sound good) The powers that be are creating some false choice between pesticides and irradiation. Get this ! Most food which could start to grow ( for example brown rice , mung beans, lentils, garlic etc ) are irradiated as they enter Australia. Next thing to realise is that the grains and dried beans which are the mainstay of vegan diets, are not grown in Australia. Chick peas and red lentils are sometimes grown here, but brown lentils, borlotti beans, split peas, mung beans, peanuts ….MOST come from Canada and China.
Then , as if conventional fruit and veg was not already toxic enough, I read some time back that FSANZ was considering an application from the DPI ( Agriculture Department) of Queensland , who were fixing to irradiate perssimons for export to Western Australia . Surley irradiation is yet another reason to eat local organic as the following excerpt from the Friends of the Earth report drives home on p 55:
15. FOOD IRRADIATION
The largest food irradiation company in Australia is likely to be Steritech Pty Ltd. Steritech is already using arguments that because of regulatory restrictions on insecticides “there is growing interest in the benefits of chemical-free alternatives to treating food”. . Steritech irradiate food using Gamma irradiation, with Cobalt 60 used as the most common source of Gamma Radiation. According to the US EPA food irradiation “does not eliminate dangerous toxins that are already there; it masks the aging of fruits and vegetables, it kills bacteria that produce smells that warn us food is spoiling, and it disqualifies food from being labeled “organic.” [thank goodness BW ].
At the 1987 US Congressional Hearings Into Food Irradiation, a number of experts spoke out against food irradiation. Concerns included; increases in polypoloid cells in the bone marrow of rats and mice fed with freshly irradiated wheat, increased polypoloid (abnomal) cells in monkeys fed with freshly irradiated wheat, intrauterine mutations in mice fed with freshly irradiated wheat, the small number of studies supporting irradiation, unexplained deaths and abnormalities in test rats, reduced vitamin and nutrient value of irradiated food, increases in free radicals in irradiated food, the formation of new molecules in irradiated food, conversion of nitrate to nitrite in irradiated food, increases of peroxides in irradiated polyunsaturated fats and the chemical transformation of foods, mutagens, carcinogens and cytoxic substances in food or food components which have been irradiated. ”
Another huge reason to buy local organically grown food or grow your own: We are going to need to be energetic and smart to survive climate change. To be physically and mentally tough enough to install permaculture…you need to start with good food. And here I will insert some great lines from Ronnie Cummins
While we’ve been dutifully carrying on this year in our daily lives, in our separate domains, doing the right thing—taking care of our children and grandchildren; trying to save the whales, farm animals, and the bees; promoting natural health; supporting green commerce; fighting GMOs; safeguarding organic standards—we have nonetheless been steadily losing ground. [And in WA we have been losing precious last forests and soil ! BW ]
And, as it is around 40 degrees celcius in WA this holiday arvo, and you are hopefully resting in a cool place, check out this 47 minute doco by John Lieu. It really covers the burning issues