FAQ: Irradiation

Irradiation may be a common practice with the big manufacturers of chicken jerky, but not with us.

Q:  What is“meat irradiation” and do you use it?  

A: Goodness Gracious does NOT use irradiated meat. Why? Well, the simple answer is that we think it's really bad stuff. The FDA and some manufacturers and importers of pet treats do not take such a strict view, but plenty of medical professionals do. We've included a few links here for you for more information. And we've summarized some of the salient points of the articles.

According to Samuel Epstein, M.D in an article posted in organicconsumer.org "the current permissible radiation dosage is about 200 million times greater than a chest X-ray... As well documented since the 1960s, these massive doses of ionizing radiation produce profound chemical changes in meat. These include elevated levels of the carcinogenic chemical benzene, and also the production of unique new chemicals, known as radiolytic products, some of which have been implicated as carcinogenic. Additionally, irradiated food has been shown to induce genetic damage in a wide range of studies, including tests on malnourished children by India's National Institute of Nutrition. Of particular concern in this regard, are a group of readily detectable unique chemicals known as cyclobutanones which have recently been shown to cause chromosomal damage in intestinal cells of rats and humans. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have ignored the strong evidence on the cancer and genetic risks of irradiated food. Instead, they have relied on a group of five studies, selected from a total of over 400 studies prior to 1980, on which their current claims of safety are based."

In addition, an article in Medical News Today reports the health risks of irradiation. "Food irradiation can result in loss of nutrients, for example vitamin E levels can be reduced by 25% after irradiation and vitamin C by 5-10%. This is compounded by the longer storage times of irradiated foods, and by loss of nutrients during cooking, which can result in the food finally eaten by the consumer to contain little more than 'empty calories'. This is potentially damaging to the long and short-term health of consumers, particularly for sections of society already failing to obtain adequate nutrition."

And lastly, irradiation does nothing to prevent bacteria from cross contamination. Meaning irradiated food can still become tainted from contact with external bacteria.

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