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Frying lettuce is not the answer

This is another story in the category of “We’re from the government. We’re here to help.” The reporting makes me want to bang my head against the desk, but I can’t because I’m writing this from a lawn chair in my back garden. All the stories stress how safe the process is. That is not the point. Not . . . the . . . point.

FDA to allow radiation of spinach and lettuce

Health regulators have approved the use of ionizing radiation for fresh spinach and lettuce, saying the technique already approved for other foods [ can help control harmful bacteria and other pathogens.

The Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday the radiation treatment also would make the leafy greens last longer and give them greater “shelf-life” for retailers and consumers.

The problem is not –not!– that radiation turns the lettuce into a Green Monster or that is leaves horrible radiation cooties all over the leaves.

The problem is that irradiating food is the equivalent of leaving it out in the sun for a few days. It destroys vitamins and lowers the nutritional value generally.

That is not good. I mean, you’re eating spinach because it’s good for you, for chrissakes. You’re not just trying to ingest a water-based form of greenish tissue paper.

The other problem is that by more or less sterilizing the surface, a host of bad farming practices can be covered up. Some of those bad practices, such as poor harvesting methods or taking longer to get the product to market, also lower nutritional value.

At least they are talking about labelling treated products.

Spinach and lettuce that have been irradiated will have to carry a special “radura” logo and state the product has been “treated with radiation” or “treated by irradiation,” FDA’s Kwisnek said.

I guess farmers have less clout than Monsanto and their ilk who have successfully kept everyone in the dark about which foods have genetically engineered traits, and what those are. I was, am, and always will be livid that I can’t boycott Round-Up resistant junk — or “Round-Up Ready” as they like to call it.

Technorati Tags: food, radiation, bacteria, FDA