Dear Fellow Anti-Food Irradiation Campaigners,
Today the Bush administration indicated that the government will likely purchase irradiated meat for schools.Please sign-on to this letter to Ann Veneman, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, indicating this is unacceptable. Please send yourname and organization to Jessica Vallette Revere, firstname.lastname@example.org, by Wednesday, April 11.
Thanks for all of your hard work and continued support.
Public Citizen Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program
Food Irradiation Campaign
Ann Veneman, Secretary
U.S. Department of Agriculture
14th Street and Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Veneman:
We, the undersigned, are writing to oppose any action taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow the purchase of irradiated beef for the National School Lunch Program, and approving the use of irradiation to treat meat that is used in that program.
We strongly urge you to reverse your position for the following reasons:
· Notwithstanding the approval granted by the Food and Drug Administration and by your department, food irradiation has not been proven to be safe for human consumption.The Food and Drug Administration failed to follow its own protocol for approving irradiation as a food additive in accordance with 21 CFR 170.20 and 170.22.Until the FDA completes its work on this technology, no further approval should be granted by any U.S. government agency on the use of irradiation.
· The World Health Organization is currently conducting studies on the harmful effects of 2-DCB, a chemical that is formed when meat is irradiated.. There has been at least one study conducted by German scientists that has shown that this chemical can cause significant DNA damage in rats (citation of German study).Until these studies are completed, the U.S. government should cease its approval of irradiation.
· Irradiating food causes it to lose key vitamins and vital enzymes, such as vitamins A, B1, C, K, and E.
· Current labeling regulations do not require restaurants, hospitals or schools to inform consumers that food that they have prepared has been irradiated.Students and parents will not be informed that the meat prepared in school cafeterias has been irradiated unless the school personnel take the initiative to inform them of this fact.Your action is putting school districts in the unenviable position of deceiving parents and students by not informing them that meats in the school lunch program have been irradiated.They have a right to know what is being fed to them.
· Your proposed action fails to address the need for improved sanitary conditions in slaughtering and processing facilities, and in the handling of food within school cafeterias.It is a placebo.Irradiating food will not make it safer if the conditions under which it is slaughtered, processed and prepared is unsanitary.
Your proposed actions are irresponsible.Instead of ensuring that the food we feed consumers, and in particular, our children is safe and wholesome, you seem to be more interested in increasing industry profits and making it easier for it to shirk its responsibility to consumers. Your action is a bail-out of the food irradiation industry that is facing a skeptical consuming public about the safety of its products.We strongly urge you to reverse your position on this important public health issue.
COMMUNITY NUTRITION INSTITUTE
GLOBAL RESOURCE ACTION CENTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT (GRACE)
HUMANE FARMING ASSOCIATION
NATIONAL CATHOLIC RURAL LIFE CONFERENCE
ORGANIC CONSUMER ASSOCIATION
PUBLIC CITIZEN' CRITICAL MASS ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT PROGRAM
STANDING FOR TRUTH ABOUT RADIATION (STAR)