RADIATION, IRRADIATION AND OUR FOOD SUPPLY
A few years ago I made the observation that respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, bronchitis, chronic cough and allergies had been - and still are - increasing since the late 1970's. In spite of improving technology and advances in medicine and science, traditional therapies appear to produce minimal improvements at best. This phenomenon prompted me to conduct a deeper and more thorough investigation of the area to see if an explanation could be found.
Although I approached with an open mind, with no preconceived ideas or expectations, the results of my research were surprising, but undeniable.
Radiation - The Hidden Cause
Nobody talks about radiation. And why would you talk about it? It would only be a subject of discussion if it were a threat - a threat to you or your family or loved ones. Actually, it is the biggest unidentified threat to human health on the planet at this time.
There is no doubt that radiation causes bad effects on human bodies, and that those effects are far greater than anyone has ever allowed us to believe. I am not just talking about people who work at or live near nuclear power plants, although they are, of course, at high risk of exposure. All of us, to a greater or lesser degree, have been exposed to some form of radiation. Especially at risk are children, small babies and those yet to be born. The most common sources of exposure are: airborne sources such as nuclear accidents, bomb testing, the sun's rays, X-rays, cigarette smoke (see my Radiation & Tobacco Report), dental porcelain, some medical therapies, and radiation that exists in soil and gets into our water and food supplies.
Radiation exposure will cause a person to have a weakened immune system and related health problems throughout his entire life. This exposure causes devastating illnesses, such as cancer and degenerative diseases, but it can also cause minor ailments, such as a persistent cough, headaches, sleep disturbances and gastrointestinal dysfunction.
The good news is that there are remedies for the bad effects of radiation, and they are contained within these pages. This report is dedicated to helping you to protect, preserve and improve your health, and the health of your family.
How Does Radiation Penetrate Our Food Supply?
There are two major commercial uses of radiation as it relates to food preparation in the world today. They are microwave ovens and irradiated food. There is also a third way in which radiation can penetrate our food supply - radioactive fallout. Let's take these subjects one at a time.
Heating food in a microwave oven is very convenient but recent studies have shown that it may not only impact the nutrition of the food, it also may be dangerous to those who eat the food.
According to an announcement about infant bottles from the University of Minnesota in 1989 "Heating the bottle in a microwave can cause slight changes in the milk. In infant formulas, there may be a loss of some vitamins. In expressed breast milk, some protective properties may be destroyed." (Expressed breast milk is that which has been mechanically pumped by the mother.)
According to research, cooking food in a microwave may alter the physical make up of the food. It is known that the irradiation process breaks up the molecular structure of food and creates a whole new set of chemicals, known as unique radiolytic products (URPs). These URPs include benzene, formaldehyde and a host of known mutagens and carcinogens. This fact alone has obviously caused considerable controversy over the potential hazards of eating irradiated foods of any kind.
A study performed by Dr Hans Hertel of Switzerland found that food prepared in microwave ovens not only altered the food, it also altered the blood chemistry of those eating it. When his findings were released, a lawsuit was brought against him by the Association of Dealers for Electroapparatuses for Households and Industry. He was prohibited by the court from saying that food prepared in microwave ovens is dangerous to health - so much for freedom of speech. He is in the process of appealing that decision.
Microwaving food in plastic containers runs the additional risk of the food absorbing dangerous chemicals released when the plastic is bombarded and heated by radiation. While the subject of the dangers of using microwave ovens is still controversial, I recommend not using them at all.
Food irradiation is a process whereby the food is exposed to high levels of radiation in order to kill insects, bacteria and mold, and make the food last longer on the store shelves. Although the idea of radiating food sounds quite unappetizing to most people, it has been practiced in the USA since the 1960's, when the Food & Drug Administration approved the irradiation of wheat and white potatoes. During the 1980s, the FDA approved petitions for irradiation of spices and seasonings, pork, fresh fruits, and dry or dehydrated substances. Poultry received approval in 1990. The FDA approved irradiation for red meat in 1997.
The type of radiation used to irradiate foods is gamma energy, because gamma rays do not create radioactive particles. "Meltdown" and chain reactions do not occur, and the irradiated foods and their packaging are apparently not made radioactive. The gamma energy penetrates the food and its packaging, but most of the energy simply passes through the food, similar to the way microwaves pass through food, leaving no residue. The small amount of energy that does not pass through the food is negligible and is retained as heat.
Radiation is basically energy moving through space in invisible waves. The nature of the energy is defined by the wavelength of the energy. As the wavelength gets shorter, the energy of the wave increases. Microwaves have a relatively long wavelength so they have lower energy; strong enough to move molecules and cause heat through friction, and maybe strong enough to structurally change atoms in the molecules. Radiation from gamma rays or X-rays has a shorter wavelength and therefore higher energy. This type of radiation definitely has enough energy to change atoms, and changing the atoms is what kills most of the bacteria in the food.
However, studies have shown that irradiating microorganisms like E. coli and salmonella may give rise to even more dangerous, radiation-resistant strains of bacteria. Under laboratory conditions scientists found that one particular type of bacteria can survive a radiation dose five times what the FDA will allow for beef. In tests, scientists exposed this bacterium to enough radiation to kill a person several thousand times over; the bacteria survived. Before you get a false sense of security from the idea that food irradiation makes food much safer to eat - radiation is completely ineffective against viruses, and does absolutely nothing to clean the food of waste products and other unsanitary matter often left on beef, chicken, and lamb as the result of filthy and inhumane slaughterhouse conditions.
Worldwide, 38 countries permit irradiation of food, and more than 28 billion pounds of food is irradiated annually in Europe. The United States has 40 licensed irradiation facilities, and while most are used to sterilize medical and pharmaceutical supplies, 16 of the facilities also irradiate spices for wholesale use, and several other facilities irradiate other food products. Currently, the US government is proposing hundreds of food irradiation facilities around the country. Each facility will contain as much radiation as that which was released at Chernobyl. Inherent with that are some serious safety issues, from highly toxic waste disposal to the danger of accidental release of the radiation into the atmosphere.
In studies done on malnourished children by the National Institute of Nutrition at the Council of Medical Research in Hyderabad, India, blood tests showed chromosome damage after being fed freshly irradiated wheat for six weeks. Children fed a similar but un-irradiated diet did not show damage. When the children were taken off the irradiated diet the condition gradually went away.
Irradiation Destroys Nutrition
From a nutritional aspect, irradiation of food destroys essential vitamins and minerals, including: vitamin A, thiamine, B2, B3, B6, B12, folic acid, C, E, and K. Amino acid and essential polyunsaturated fatty acid content may also be affected. A 20 to 80 percent loss of any of these is not uncommon. It also kills friendly bacteria and enzymes, effectively rendering the food "dead" and therefore useless to the body. In the words of Donald R Louria Ph.D., Chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, "The supporters of food irradiation treat the potential damage to the nutrient value of food as if it were unimportant or nonexistent. That is a major mistake. If the nutrient value of food is reduced, then the argument for food irradiation prolonging shelf life is undercut. Surely, it would not make sense to prolong shelf life if the foods are nutritionally defective." Dr. Louria has a point: even if testing showed that irradiated food was 'safe', it has already been shown to lack nutritional value.
One good thing is that in the United States, food growers and manufacturers must mention on the label that the food is irradiated, so avoidance of irradiated foods is possible if one shops carefully. However, if you eat out at a restaurant you will not know whether you are eating irradiated food, as they are not obliged to reveal that information.
It is clear that food irradiation has not been adequately tested on humans, and the negative implications are apparent: potential nuclear accidents resulting in radiation leaks, more nuclear waste to dispose of, mutating bacteria, carcinogenic substances and depleted nutritional value of the food irradiated.
The firm Radiation Sterilizers, Inc. (RSI) got 252 twenty-one-inch canisters of cesium-137 - which were never designed for use at an irradiation facility - from the Department of Energy, and in 1988, began using them to irradiate spices. After only two years, a cesium capsule began leaking into RSI's storage pool. It took federal officials six months to even find the source of the leak. Contaminated workers took the poison home with them. In 1992, the building was abandoned and RSI took the word "radiation" out of its name. The company is now called "SteriGenics." As a result of the leak and the bungled investigation, seventy thousand medical supply containers and milk cartons were recalled as they had been exposed to radiation. Ten employees were also exposed, three of whom "had enough on them that they contaminated other surfaces" including materials in their homes and cars, according to Jim Setser at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.
While there are regulations governing the amount of radiation that can be applied to foods, in practice it is possible that irradiated foods will get higher doses than those permitted. In a petition to the FDA to allow higher irradiation doses for spices, R. L. Hall, Vice President of the spice maker, McCormick & Company, Inc., stated, "In existing large-scale irradiators, it is quite likely that an overdose of up to 25O% can be expected."
The first food irradiation facility in the United States was Vindicator Inc., now called Food Technology Service Inc. in Mulberry Florida. It began irradiating foods in 1991. In August of 2000, Pegasus Foods Canada Inc, a Canadian food company filed a suit against Food Technology Service Inc., claiming the plant over-irradiated its sockeye salmon and cost it more than $2 million. The lawsuit accuses Food Technology Service of "over-irradiation," causing "color change, offensive odor and rendering the product unfit for human consumption."
Since 1986, all irradiated products must carry the international symbol called a radura which, misleadingly, resembles a stylized flower.
This has drawn complaints due to its similarity to the symbol of the Environmental Protection Agency. The radura is only required on consumer products purchased in food stores. In restaurants the label is not required if the food is irradiated. An informal survey of several restaurant chains revealed that as of the beginning of 2001 irradiated foods were not being served to the guests in most restaurants.
For example, Brinker International, which owns Chili's and Macaroni Grill among other restaurants, said they do not use irradiated foods. The same goes for the Outback Steak House, Ruby Tuesday's, and Tia's Tex-Mex. But there are some that do. The Church Street Station in Orlando Florida has been serving irradiated chicken for several years. And when asked, TGI Friday's said, "we are unable to provide detailed information regarding the ingredients/nutritional information of our menu items."
Approvals, Testing, And Recommendations
As regards studies to determine the safety of food irradiation, it is difficult to find credible sources of information. For example, officials at one testing company, IBT Ltd., the testing corporation responsible for numerous studies on irradiated foods, were convicted in 1983 of conducting fraudulent research for government and industry.
The technologies of genetic engineering and irradiation are approved or recommended by many "Health" and "Consumer" groups. Upon investigation however it can be found that the health or consumer group often receives funding from the manufacturer or industry of the technology recommended, creating an obvious conflict of interest. Such an association promotes itself as a "health organization," or "consumer advocate group" but it rarely advocates against the multi-national corporations that are funding it.
For example the American Dietetic Association (ADA) has a stated purpose, "To serve the public through the promotion of optimal nutrition, health and well-being." Their position on genetic engineering is as follows: "It is the position of The American Dietetic Association that biotechnology techniques have the potential to be useful in enhancing the quality, nutritional value, and variety of food available for human consumption and in increasing the efficiency of food production, food processing, food distribution, and waste management."
It doesn't take too much investigation to find out that Monsanto, a giant corporation which has lost several lawsuits on environmental contamination issues, donates thousands of dollars each year toward various ADA programs. Other contributors to the ADA are the National Cattleman's Beef Association, National Dairy Council, Nestle and several drug companies.
Another example is the American Council on Science and Health, which supports irradiation and genetically engineered foods. It receives funding from a who's who of multi-national corporations including Monsanto, Nestle, Dow Chemical, American Meat Institute, National Dairy Council, DuPont and Union Carbide. The point is, if you rely on the recommendation of a "consumer" or "health" group, you might want to take into consideration who is funding them. When an "independent study" finds that a product is safe, find out who paid for the independent study.
On the other hand, The Consumer's Union is a real non-profit consumer's group that accepts absolutely no commercial support. The Consumer's Union has called for the labeling of Genetically Modified Organisms and more testing before they are allowed on the market. They publish a monthly magazine called Consumer Reports and can be found on the Internet at www.consumersunion.org.
Radioactive Fallout and Food
Even nuclear events that happen far away from us can have a serious impact on our environment. As an example, while half of Chernobyl's fallout dropped within 30 or so miles of the complex, the rest of the radioactive cloud was blown by prevailing winds over parts of the Soviet Union, Scandinavia, continental Europe, Great Britain and Ireland. Lower levels of radiation have even been detected as far away as the Middle East and here in the United States, as winds continue to blow the radiation cloud back and forth around the planet.
Grains and other vegetation absorb radiation deposited in the soil by the fallout from these radioactive clouds. When grass is contaminated by radiation and then eaten by dairy cows, radioactive elements are passed through their milk into human bodies, as has been proven by the presence of radioactive elements in the baby teeth of children (for more on this subject see my Radiation, Mercury and Your Teeth Report.)
Radiation that is absorbed by grain crops is transported into food products. The radiation travels along with the grain, surviving ALL refinement and cooking processes. Finally, people consume the grain AND the radiation. The grain is needed by the body but the radiation is not, and is rejected. However, the grain is now associated with the radiation, and the body's response to this is to reject the grain! Continually exposing the body to the grain, which it sees as harmful as it comes along with radiation, will in time, cause the body to become allergic to grain.
There is really no way to know if the food you are eating has been contaminated by radioactive fallout. However, there are nutritional ways to proof yourself against the harmful effects of the radiation that comes along with your foods. For a full explanation of this subject see my Allergies & Radiation Report.
Alternatives To Irradiated Foods
While there are no easy answers to some of the problems we face concerning the foods we buy and eat, here are some recommendations:
Other Good Food Advice
Knowing what we now know about food and radiation, it is vitally important for the future generations that we each do everything we can to protect and improve the quality of the foods consumed by ourselves and our children.
Yours in Health
(Note: both books are available here.)
Disclaimer: Statements about products and health conditions have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Check with your healthcare professional before undergoing any protocol.
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