Re: About Food irradiation
>(Dan wrote in an email to me/P. Dines)
><<Your latest letter on food irradiation does contain many well thought
>out points and some concerns that probably should be addressed. And of
>course, your personal concerns should always be addressed at that
(Above sent on: Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 15:54:42 AST)
>(Dan wrote in an email to Woody)
><<When I first asked my question here, I was hoping to get one or more
>reasoned and well thought out responses. Maybe even at least one from
>"qualified" scientist. All I have seen so far have been knee jerk
>responses from partially or totally uninformed radicals pushing some
>loosely defined, or undefined agenda to prevent the use of a proven
>technology based on fear, creation of fear, and intimidation.
(Above sent on: Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 09:12:23 AST)
I went back and looked at my "Sent" folder to obtain the times shown
above. Note that when I sent the note to Woody, I had not yet even
downloaded, let alone read your letter which I responded to as shown in
the upper quote above. At the time I wrote to Woody, my statement to him
was essentially correct as it reflected my personal opinion of the
responses I had seen up to that time.
As I mentioned privately to at least one other person, my initial
question coached in non-aggressive, polite, considerate, terms brought
forth one answer in over a week; your response of posting the letter you
had received. It appears you went out of your way and made a special
effort to find at least one point of view and then shared that with the
group in answer to my original post. And for that I thank you. It was A
That letter you posted was the first response and what appeared to be
the only response that was forthcoming. In my opinion (which is probably
as bad as anyone's) that letter represented a "knee jerk, pavlovian,
response from an uninformed fringe group". Sorry. That is my opinion. I
base my opinion on the fact that the letter made a number of unsupported
claims, at least one unsupportable claim, and did not address any of the
reported benefits except to make claims that they did not exist....were
the words of that "bad old government agency; the FDA, which cannot be
believed under any circumstances" or words to that effect.
It took me exactly five minutes (and that includes the time to load the
browser and dial up my ISP) to find a rather complete write up on the
subject that at least tried to tell both sides of the story.
So I decided to try a different approach. And it seems to have worked.
At least it has sparked some discussion on the subject and has brought
out several different opinions on both sides of the issue. It did not
(as yet to my knowledge) draw out any members of the scientific community
to provide new or expanded details or data from any research on the
viability or safety of irradiation. But at least it is being discussed
and I think at least a few readers may be learning a just a little bit
I do have to apologize to many reading here. And I want to thank you
again for pointing out that I had mis-spoken. I did not intend to say
that everyone on this list wishes to push us back to the 18th century. I
failed to choose my words carefully there and do apologize. I meant
there was a very vocal group who appeared to wish this. I have seen over
the last two days that there was, and is, a sort of "silent majority"
(well maybe"majority" is too strong a word)....A group of several others,
the size of which I do not yet know, that seems to be willing to look at
new technology and test it. to see if it lives up to the claims made by
those who are pushing it and if it shows promise, try using it. I saw a
number (didn't count them) of responses on the list and many more
privately that were in that vein.
As to your further comments about sustainabilty, I want to learn more
about how I can improve what I do on and to this planet. And how I can
make it a better place to live. But I do not want to go back in time to
Certain crops do not grow in Alaska and in New York, and in Illinois
for that matter. And others do not grow here. Yes, you can put up a
greenhouse and grow things in the north. And I suppose I could put up a
large freezer that covered several acres to freeze the ground and the
trees once or twice a year so I could grow peaches here, or apples. But
I talked to a man who is setting up a greenhouse in Arizona. He tells me
he can't afford the space there in his greenhouse to plant bananas. That
makes sense. It takes a lot of room to grow bananas.
So, no you can't grow some crops in the north and I can't grow others
in the tropics; not without a cost that is too large in energy
input/energy output. And we don't have the real estate here for all of
the New Yorkers to move down here. I do not believe that closing down
the large cities and moving everyone south is the answer. At least not
one that is workable. So we are going to have long distance movement of
food for the foreseeable future. I see this question as something like
someone else posed it. "Do we want to eat all of the fungicides,
insecticides, and other chemicals that are sprayed on foods to allow long
distance transportation or do we want to eat food that has been treated
in such a manner as to remove or kill all, or most of the undesirable
life forms inhabiting it without chemicals?"
If the non-chemical treatment is safe, I say use it. And I still have
not seen any reliable evidence that irradiation is not safe. On the
contrary, I have seen it used with no apparent damage or danger to humans
at all other than the possibility of radiation leakage at the treating
plant. And I believe that can be controlled.
For those who feel they just cannot abide eating food that has ben
treated this way, label it. Let's label everything. Those who are
complaining the loudest and hardest about irradiation and who want to
preserve those enzymes, are very likely eating uncooked, or partially
cooked food that has been doctored with so many chemicals they don't know
what they are eating anyway. Yes, there are those few who have access to
organically grown food. But I suspect they are in the minority within
the anti-irradiation groups who shout it down because of the destruction
of those enzymes.
I wish I had time to expand on this further. Maybe at a later time.
--Dan in Sunny Puerto Rico--