Keeping Food Bacteria-Free With Irradiation; KPTH FOX 44; July 1, 2008;

Nebraska Beef LTD recalls over 5,000,000 pounds of beef after being linked to an E-coli outbreak.

 

Source of Article:  Food Irradiation Update (August 2008)

 

From produce to poultry, these days, food recalls are becoming the norm. So why isn't the process of irradiating food used more often?

Since 2000, Sioux City's Sadex Corporation has been irradiating beef, killing all the bacteria in it. But for fruits and vegetables, they've only been approved by the FDA to be irradiated for deinfestation, just enough to get rid of all the bugs. Supporters of the process are now looking to expand the bacteria-killing treatment to other foods.

"You throw a steak on the grill, you cook it to rare, it's virtually safe because the E-coli lives on the surface. But once you take that whole muscle product and you grind it, then you have that E-coli within that product," says Harlan Clemmons, President of Sadex Corporation.

Irradiation takes the E-coli and other microorganisms out of a food product in a matter of minutes. Experts in the field say the process doesn't use radioactive or chemical agents.  

"Common commercial electricity. Turn it into irradiation by taking the electrons and speeding those up to 99.99 percent the speed of light, scanning them over the food products which then basically, disrupt the DNA pattern of the pathogens," says Clemmons.

Clemmons says irradiation ensures food safety and can double or even triple a product's shelf life. It's a process fully supported by U.S. Senator from Iowa, Charles Grassley. "Processes like this ought to be available as an alternative to food manufacturers so they have a cost-effective way to go against recalls," says Grassley.

"Irradiated food is safe, there are over 40 to 50 years of research done in it," says Clemmons. "When you read about what it will do to protect people, it brings you around to why isn't the government approving it for other products?" says Grassley.

A concern Senator Grassley is taking back to Washington D.C.  http://www.kpth.com/Global/story.asp?S=8588562

 

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