Jumat, 12 September 2008

Irradiation of Foods

Would your students buy lettuce and spinach that had been irradiated in order to kill micro-organisms such as E. coli and salmonella? In fact, the government has already approved of the practice. Irradiation of oysters, beef, poultry and eggs has been allowed for some time now, but irradiation of lettuce and spinach is fairly new.

Until now the market for irradiated foods has remained small because current FDA regulations require that irradiated foods be labelled as “irradiated” and display an irradiation logo. The labels have convinced some consumers that irradiated foods may be radioactive (they’re not). To encourage consumer acceptance, the FDA has proposed changes to the labelling rules so that in the future, irradiated foods would only have to be labelled as “cold pasteurized”, or simply pasteurized.

How accurate are your student’s perceptions about food irradiation? How many of them mistakenly believe that irradiated foods are radioactive? The safety of food irradiation might make a good out-of-class research project or topic for discussion.

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