The Debate On Food Irradiation Essay

3111 words - 12 pages

Introduction
There have been an increasing number of foodborne illnesses in this country and throughout the world in recent years. This has led to a heightened awareness of food safety. Food irradiation is being looked at as a potential solution to the problem. Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation. Research shows that food irradiation can reduce or eliminate harmful pathogens and bacteria in our food, thus reducing, or even stopping the spread of foodborne illnesses. Proponents argue it has many benefits and will increase public safety. They believe it will increase the shelf life of the products we buy, and decrease the need for the use of other harmful chemicals. Ultimately, they believe food irradiation is a viable option to increase the safety of our food supply.
Everyone does not share those feelings. Opponents of food irradiation are concerned about the safety of the process, and the long-term effects. They believe it opens up a new can of worms, with it’s own set of problems. These include the effects the irradiation has on the make-up and nutritional value of the food. They argue there are many environmental concerns to be considered. Opponents of food irradiation do have concerns about the outbreak of foodborne illnesses and the safety of the food supply. However, they feel it is an unnecessary extreme. They believe we should carefully evaluate our food handling practices. They believe a clean up of current conditions would greatly improve food safety. With the proper implementation of standards, we would not need to go the extreme of food irradiation.

Consumers are becoming more aware of the food they eat each and everyday. They are label conscious, and aware of ingredients and portion sizes. Many are knowledgeable about what they are consuming and the manner in which it is grown and produced. They are educated about additives and preservatives. Many are willing to pay more for organic products that they deem as safer alternatives to food that has been processed, treated, or preserved with certain chemicals. Many foods are put through processes that help preserve their quality. Food irradiation is one of these processes. Many consumers are uneducated or unaware of this process. Anytime the word radiation is mentioned, people are alarmed. Ther are weary about the effects this process has on the foods they eat, and ultimately the effects these foods will have on their bodies. Food irradiation is a controversial topic, with both supporters and opponents on both sides of the debate.
Food irradiation uses ionizing radiation to eliminate microorganisms and make it more appealing to they eye. The goal of food irradiation is to kill harmful bacteria and pathogens that may be in our food, which will ultimately decrease the incidence of food borne illnesses. Food irradiation is believed to increase the shelf life of the treated products by decreasing...

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