June 13, 2011

WSJ, in Essence: Give Us Irradiation or Give Us More Death

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:11 am

As usual in matters such as these, the Journal’s editorialists make sense — probably too much sense for defenders of leftist pet causes (bolds are mine):

German Greens and their European Union acolytes have long fought scientific advances in food production and protection. After a spice manufacturer in Stuttgart employed the world’s first commercial food irradiation in 1957, West Germany banned the practice in 1959 and has since allowed few exceptions. So it’s no small scandal that the latest fatal E. coli outbreak has been linked to an organic German farm that shuns modern farming techniques.

Officials on Saturday confirmed that sprouts grown south of Hamburg were contaminated with the deadly strain that has so far killed 35 people and sickened thousands. The news will comfort European consumers, who have been afraid to eat greens for weeks. But the panic isn’t over: Farmers want hundreds of millions of euros in reparations from Berlin, which initially named Spanish cucumbers as a suspect and cautioned against all salad greens, and there are calls for a new, Europe-wide food-safety certification system.

So here we go again: agitation for more money and regulation, though agricultural authorities still don’t know where the German farm erred. Sprouts require warm and humid farm environments, which makes them particularly hospitable to bacteria. But both harmful and harmless E. coli strains are present in the intestines of most animals, as well as human beings. No amount of standardizations or certifications will guarantee E. coli’s eradication from food.

The best practice for doing so would be, well, irradiation, which involves sending gamma rays or electron beams into meat, poultry and produce. The process can deactivate up to 99.999% of E. coli, and was declared safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration almost 50 years ago. Even so, less than 10% of the global food supply is irradiated.

… study after study has turned up no evidence that zapping food with low doses of radiation damages human health. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Medical Association, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization and World Health Organization have all endorsed the process as safe and highly effective.

These facts haven’t discouraged the even more effective media campaigns of a few pressure groups that never met a food technology they didn’t fear.

… This latest E. coli outbreak is painful real-life evidence that natural foods are not always better, nor safe for consumption.

Given that the outbreak is, as noted yesterday, “the world’s deadliest known outbreak of E. coli,” the burden of proof would appear to be on organic farms to prove that they’re a safer (or at least as safe) alternative. The guess here is that instead of doing the dirty work to self-regulate their industry, they’ll just whine and continue lobbying to prevent the spread of modern methods which have long since proven superior.



  1. We saw a truck drive by the other day that said “Milk the way it used to be.” My son said “Do they mean unpasteurized?”
    The problem with that same darn “science” is they can find out now what caused these incidents. No where to hide.

    Comment by Jim — June 13, 2011 @ 9:57 am

  2. Here are Links for comment and the first one is about raw milk from a leading source….

    “Raw Milk info and frequently asked questions”
    (This is not FDA approved, and probably not approved by establishment big Ag either.. & thank God for that))


    “Heard About the Debt-Limit Negotiations? I Didn’t Think So”

    Whaddya Know? An Republican with Values Attracts Hispanics!

    Is this a wholesale denial of Catholic teachings on issues of faith and morals by board of trustees and the president of (supposedly) Catholic university?
    1 “Lying Father Jenkins Must Go”

    2 Committed to Catholic teaching or “aspects” of Catholic teaching?

    No surprise here…..
    “World Stock prices hit 12-week Low”

    “Rick Perry Smacks up Obama on Abortion” (See Video at the Link)

    The media downloaded 25,000 pages of Palin’s emails in an effort to destroy her and it may end up doing the exact opposite :)
    “A Downs Syndrome Baby will expand your world”

    “Tell me again why we are throwing Money at Pakistan?”

    “Pakistan accused of tipping off al-Qaeda fighters ahead of raids”

    Why not study Theology at XU this summer………
    “How not to spend your summer vacation”

    “Study: Toxin From GM Crops Found In Human Blood”

    “EPA Rules Lead to Shutdowns in Ohio”

    Comment by Greg — June 13, 2011 @ 10:50 am

  3. organic = dirty + expensive – additional benefit(taste + nutrition)

    Comment by Joe C. — June 13, 2011 @ 7:55 pm

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