As I write in the chapter “Feeding with Awareness” in my book ‘Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics’...
“Irradiation is a food preservation and food safety measure used by the food industry in which foods are treated with radiation from radioactive elements, X-rays, or high energy electron beams. That’s right… radiation… on your food!
The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) websites states “Like pasteurising milk and canning fruits and vegetables, irradiation can make food safer for the consumer.” Seriously? I wish I hadn’t gone to that website – it makes my blood boil.
From the same website you can read that irradiation preserves the food by destroying the organisms on natural foods which cause decomposition (think ‘good bacteria and probiotics’); delays ripening and sprouting (think ‘kills the digestive enzymes in the food’) and sterilises the food – essentially, irradiation delivers dead food!
When food is irradiated, some nutrients are destroyed and untested compounds, referred to as URPs (unique radiolytic products), are created. These products are free radicals, which set off chain reactions in the body that destroy antioxidants, tear apart cell membranes, and make the body more susceptible to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, liver damage, muscular breakdown, and other serious health problems.
No long-term studies have been done on the consumption of irradiated food and the scientific studies which led to the irradiation process being legalised do not meet modern scientific protocols.
Irradiation destroys vitamins, nutrients and essential fatty acids, including up to 95 percent of vitamin A in chicken and 86 percent of vitamin B in oats.
So what foods are commonly irradiated?
Meat, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, herbs, spices.
I came to know about irradiation through spices. When I started purchasing organic spices I noticed the labels said, “non irradiated”.
I compared those to conventional bottles of spices and found that non-organic labels said, “irradiated”.
I found this very upsetting – I strongly believe in the healing properties of herbs and spices and had been using them accordingly, only to discover that most of the valuable, even medicinal, qualities are purged during the irradiation process. Not only were the healing qualities removed but disease-causing ones had been added.
While you may believe that irradiated foods are safer due to the anti-bacterial action of irradiation, it is important to bare in mind that much of the factory farmed, public slaughter-house meat, and conventionally farmed and produced fruits and vegetables contain food pathogens due to the unsavoury farming practices in which they are created. By purchasing pasture-raised, organic food and following simple food storage and preparation methods, you can reduce your risk of food pathogens.
Also, going back to the spices… two of the main benefits of spices and herbs, besides adding flavour to food, are their anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities… they are natural bug inhibitors (so surely no need for radiation?!)”