Tell the FDA to require labels on irradiated food
Just two days remain in the comment period on the FDA's latest proposal to allow the food industry to mislead consumers. This rule change would eliminate the requirement that irradiated food be labeled as such if the irradiation does not cause "a material change in the food" (e.g., different taste, longer shelf life). The new rules would allow terms like "cold pasteurization" or "electronic pasteurization" in place of "irradiated," and the radura symbol would not be required. In a bizarre bit of logic, the FDA's Federal Register notice considers the label change to be a "benefit" for consumers "because it could allow consumers to make more informed decisions about the food they purchase." "Less is more" might be a great motto for architecture, music, or even cooking, but not for food labels, especially something as significant as irradiation.
The comment period ends on Tuesday, July 3 (soon!). At this late date, you can submit comments in two ways:
- Faxes can be sent to the Divisions of Dockets Management (HFA-305) at the FDA in Rockville, Maryland, fax number 1-301-827-6870.
- Electronic comments can be entered in the FDA's comment system. (if that link doesn't work, visit this page and search for Docket ID 2005N-0272)
Be sure to refer to Docket No. 2005N-0272 in your comments. You don't need to write a multi-page tract; a few sentences should be sufficient.
The June 29 Living on Earth program included an interview with Urvashi Rangan of Consumers Union about the proposed rule. Free transcript, audio stream, and MP3 download available.
The Organic Consumers Association has a sample letter on a Take Action page.
If you have an hour to spare, Show #540 of Food Chain Radio (MP3 download available) has guests talking about irradiation of meat and the proposed labeling change (one pro, one con, and a reasonably fair host).
In 2003, Consumer Reports performed a comprehensive study of how irradiated meat will affect consumers.
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