INDEPENDENT NEWS

Irradiation Another Win For Global Food Giants

Published: Fri 6 Aug 1999 12:20 AM
The transtasman decision this week to allow irradiated food is another triumph for global food giants at the expense of consumers and farmers.
That's according to Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons who said it was a step in the "industrialisation of our food to satisfy multinational food companies rather than local consumers and farmers".
"While labelling appears to give consumers choice, not all food with irradiated ingredients will be labelled. I am also concerned that the next step will be to remove labelling, as is happening in the United States."
Ms Fitzsimons warned that the decision to allow irradiated food into New Zealand could be "the thin end of the wedge" to widespread use of the technology.
"I am particularly worried by the possible construction of food irradiation plants in New Zealand, which would detract from the country's clean, green image.
"Food irradiation is a way of disguising food contamination and allowing much slacker hygiene standards. Instead of stopping contamination at the source, it tries to kill the harmful bacteria. Because it generally kills the bugs that cause food to smell `off' but does not kill some of the most dangerous organisms, it can give a false assurance of safety.
"At the same time it creates new substances in the food with unknown effects and reduces food value," Ms Fitzsimons said.

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