Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What is the FDA Hiding?

What if the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) proposed a rule that would intentionally hide information you rely on to make decisions about what to feed yourself and your family?

Or if FDA proposed changing food labeling information to something the agency knows to be misleading to consumers?

Well, FDA has announced just such a rule to weaken labeling of irradiated foods.

Currently, irradiated food must be labeled as “Treated with irradiation” or “Treated by radiation” and have on them the irradiated symbol. But now, in yet another attempt to appease industry at the expense of the public, the FDA has proposed a new rule that would allow irradiated food to be marketed in some cases without any labeling at all. In other cases, the rule would allow the terms “electronically pasteurized” or “cold pasteurized” to replace the use of “irradiated” on labels. These terms are not used by scientists, but rather are designed to fool consumers about what’s been done to their food.

Pasteurization involves heating liquids for the purpose of destroying harmful bacteria and other pathogens, and has been used safely for decades. Irradiation is a completely different process, using high-energy gamma rays, electron beams, or X-rays on meat, grains, and other foods.

Labeling irradiated foods as “pasteurized” is simply untruthful and misleading. Allowing the marketing of irradiated food without any labeling is equally misleading. Consumers have demanded irradiation labeling because they know that irradiation can create potentially dangerous chemical byproducts and reduce their foods' nutritional value.

In fact, FDA’s own research found that the proposed change would confuse consumers, stating "Research indicates that many consumers regard substitute terms for irradiation to be misleading."

What is the FDA hiding? A lot.

Consumers have a right to truthful labeling in order to make informed choices for themselves and their families. A public comment period is open until July 3, 2007.
Protect Your Right to Know: Tell the FDA Not to Weaken the Rules for Labeling Irradiated Food!

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