Don't let the FDA increase irradiation x-ray levels!

A few days before Christmas, the Food and Drug Administration quietly
announced that they were granting an industry petition to increase the
permitted energy level of X-rays used to irradiate food. At this higher
energy level, it is possible for the components of the food to become
"activated" (become radioactive). The industry claims that any
radioactivity will be short-lived. But we think it is unacceptable that
consumers should be asked to accept any technology that creates
radioactivity, no matter what the level. Additionally, the FDA has not
required adequate studies of the changes, chemical or otherwise, that
this increased dose could cause in food.

The higher doses will allow large portions of food to be irradiated in
one blast - such as shipping containers from overseas. This could
increase the already enormous amount of imported meat and produce that
floods U.S. markets, a growing trend that has forced tens of thousands
of American farmers and ranchers out of business.

The FDA has a long history of ignoring the well-documented health
problems associated with irradiated foods, which can be exposed to the
equivalent of up to 1 billion chest X-rays. Numerous health problems
have been observed in lab animals fed irradiated foods, including
premature death, stillbirths, mutations, tumors, organ damage and
stunted growth. And, chemicals formed in irradiated foods called 2-ACBs
have been linked to colon cancer promotion in rats and genetic damage in
human cells.

Send the FDA an email to object to their decision to increase the dose of
X-rays used to irradiate food! The email should be sent to , and the subject line MUST be Docket No.


Sample letter

Re: Docket No. 2003F-0088 - "Irradiation in the Production,
Processing, and Handling of Food"
To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing to object to your decision to amend the food additive
regulations to establish a new maximum permitted energy level for x-rays
used to irradiate food. Specifically, I urge the FDA to conduct the
necessary studies to determine what chemical, physical, and other
changes such a change in energy level will cause in food.

I also object to the agency's decision to allow this change knowing
that some amount of radioactivity could be created in food treated with
7.5 MeV. It is unacceptable for consumers to be asked to tolerate any
amount of radioactivity caused by a food treatment such as irradiation.

A public hearing should be conducted on this matter, so that the public
can raise concerns about this change with the agency.


Audrey Hill
Public Citizen
215 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
(202) 454-5185

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