Irradiated tomatoes? No thanks.

Our supermarkets could soon be stocking irradiated vegetables coming from Queensland.

The Queensland Government has applied to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) to irradiate tomatoes and capsicums, as a biosecurity control. Australian tomatoes and capsicum are imported into New Zealand, as the vegetables are staple fare for many, regardless of the season.

Irradiation is not safe. It is the treating a food with ionizing radiation to kill bugs.

Our biosecurity in New Zealand is crucial to our economy and there is no way we should be loosening our standards. However, if a food can’t be imported without the use of irradiation then we really need to be taking a step back and looking at our options.

We should be investing in better biosecurity technology and in our domestic fruit and vegetable producers to meet demand. If vegetables cannot be imported without risking biosecurity or using unsafe technology, then we shouldn’t import them. Eating locally grown and in season, or safely solving biosecurity risks are the only options.

Make a submission on this application and say no to more irradiation.
Submissions close this Wednesday 7 November evening.

See here for information on how:
http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/foodstandards/applications/applicationa1069irra5511.cfm

75 thoughts on “Irradiated tomatoes? No thanks.

  1. I think most people realise that “fresh is best”, as your link shows.
    But when you irradiate, the fruit LOOKS fresh for much longer, but that DOESN”T correspond to actual freshness or nutrient levels. You could almost say it’s deceptive; hence the need for a label (as is stated in your link to the UK situation).

    You are right to ask about efficacy of drugs/therapies, but the relevance here is dubious. But on that topic… remember if it can’t be patented, then there’s probably little incentive for drug companies to conduct trials.

  2. How can you choose if it’s not labelled?

    The same way you choose anything else that’s not labelled with every piece of information you may require. Are traditional remedies labelled with efficacy information?

    Nope.

    up to 15% nutrient loss vitamins C and A mostly.

    You get nutrient loss in transit on organic vegetables.

    http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/datastore/234-780.pdf

    Should organic vegetables be labelled to show this?

  3. “Just because you demand certain information, doesn’t mean a supplier must provide you with it. You have a choice not to buy it. ”

    How can you choose if it’s not labelled?

    In regards to whether there is nutrient loss from irradiation Arana asks “Is there evidence of this?”
    For someone who has a lot to say on the matter you appear quite ignorant.
    You could start by following Steffans link at the top and then hit the link to the report.. Although the report seemed quite biased to me (after a quick read) it accepts up to 15% nutrient loss vitamins C and A mostly.

  4. Depends if there really is a significance difference in terms of nutrients, or an imagined one.

    Just because you demand certain information, doesn’t mean a supplier must provide you with it. You have a choice not to buy it.

    For example, let’s demand all traditional medicines provide efficacy information and the results of gold standard trials, shall we. That would be transparent, wouldn’t it? That would be reasonable, especially as it is making medicinal and health claims. Very important, I’m sure you’ll agree.

    Personally, I don’t buy placebos in the first place. Why? Education. So I vote with my wallet.

  5. Arana: ‘Science, please, not fantasy’

    Use of the word ‘fantasy’ is often a cop-out when not wanting to really delve into the reality of a situation or claim…..and many people demand ‘scientific’ ‘proof’, not realising that not every effective method functions, nor can be proven, by physical, visible, cut-it-and-see-what-happens techniques! Correction of health problems and ‘diseases’, whether caused by food-related, or other matters, is not ‘fantasy’ to those who have been healed!!

  6. Yup… and where I can I buy fresh and local or, failing that frozen and local and I take my chances. This however is a tech that lets someone fool me into thinking something is fresh when it is not…

    It isn’t “where does it end”, it is “what is reasonable” and this IS reasonable.

    You complain all you like… this is something where it CAN be labeled, and the requirement is simple enough and where requirements are made they needs be made of everyone so the playing field is leveled. I do not expect only the Aussies to label their foods… which is why it isn’t something you do on an ad-hoc basis depending on how many customers you can get together to boycott a product until it is labelled.

    There is a role here for government.

  7. Look at the comment in that article sprout linked to:

    “The article “Food irradiation, Health Risks, Misleading Consumers, Misuse of Technology” is riddled with errors. Starting with the first sentence, international bodies and industry groups do not promote irradiation as the answer to the growing problem of food poisoning. Food irradiation is one more tool that can effectively reduce the incidence of foodborne illness. It is not, and will never be, a silver bullet……”

    ,,etc

    You’re off on another tangent, BJ. If you care to educate yourself, there are *many* ways food loses nutrients and – no – none of them appear on the label. Organic food loses nutrients depending on how and where it is stored. Will you lay that labelling cost on organic producers, too? All so you can have perfect information? Where does it end?

  8. Bichip: ‘so someone can take the nutrients from my food…” Yep! They’ve been doing it since at least the early 1900’s; without our
    permission; and we let them do it.

  9. Sprout linked to one earlier….

    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/9620.php

    I remember learning of it in the early 90’s and do not remember the source… only that it was a reviewed journal.

    So someone can take the nutrients from my food without telling me? Yet charge me full price for the empty calories? That IS a form of theft.

    That is where the right to the information comes from.

  10. …Bactrocera: I totally agree with your every word here. As a former nurse/tutor, plus all I have learned since, regarding the denaturing of, and ‘doctoring’ of, almost all of our ‘foods’ with harmful – sometimes dangerous – chemicals and so on, I know that great harm has been , and is being, done – especially to our children – regardless of “assurances” from the very organisations supposed to be protecting all. Instead of arguing endlessly, I think we need to be very aware of the falsities in information we are fed; and push for change, insisting on REAL food. We can’t have a healthy, reasonably happy, productive nation otherwise. To cry “Nanny State” when, for example, healthy food was promoted in our schools, is simply destructive.

  11. If I am buying a Tomato, or a can of Beets, I have a right to expect some levels of vitamins and nutritional content.If the food has been treated with radiation those levels may be significantly reduced

    Is there evidence of this? Also consider food can be affected by storage conditions, length of storage, travel, exposure to light, and the way you cook it.

    Given that, I really REALLY think I have a right to see the food labelled as having been irradiated.

    I disagree that you have a right, but a label may well eventuate.

    Anyway, labelling is a red herring. Have your label. Happy? The issue here is the assertion: “Irradiation is not safe.”

    That hasn’t been backed up, so, without evidence to the contrary, one is left to assume it is false and misleading.

  12. Arana, the Greens are a science based party. However, most people realise that not all things are scientifically demonstrable over short time-frames.

    It’s been used since 1918

    isn’t that enough to label to enable consumers to choose whether to buy or not?

    Here we go again. No, a supplier doesn’t need to provide every single piece of information you demand. What if someone wants to know the ethnicity of the person who picked the fruit? Should that piece of information be on the sticker? If you feel you are being given insufficient information, ask the store directly. If they don’t satisfy you, go shop somewhere else.

    BTW where did your Naturopath comment from?

    Word search is your friend.

  13. How about labelling so consumers can make up their own mind rather than the all-knowing government doing it for them? All for the country of origin / irradiation / whatever else labelling so I can make my own informed decision.

    Personally – probably wouldn’t eat em, would rather eat local. But that’s my choice and I respect the choice of others who for whatever reasons don’t care / prefer these imported tomatoes.

    In other words – stop treating the public like a bunch of idiots. Let them make their own mind up.

  14. Arana

    If I am buying a Tomato, or a can of Beets, I have a right to expect some levels of vitamins and nutritional content.

    If the food has been treated with radiation those levels may be significantly reduced, and so the food value is not the same as what I THINK I am buying, and the older fruit, staying fresh “looking” longer, is likely to do me even less good.

    Given that, I really REALLY think I have a right to see the food labelled as having been irradiated.

    If I simply avoid the Aussie veggies I may be punishing more worthy foods alongside the ones that are the equivalent of colored flavored cardboard.

    Knowledge is power.

    BJ

  15. Arana, the Greens are a science based party. However, most people realise that not all things are scientifically demonstrable over short time-frames.
    Nevertheless, surely you will concede that there is nutrient loss such as vitamin levels and (as BJ said/asked) isn’t that enough to label to enable consumers to choose whether to buy or not? Remember, most people for various reasons shop at the supermarket, and not all tomatoes at the supermarket will have been irradiated, but without labelling, we can’t know which ones.
    BTW where did your Naturopath comment from?

  16. “Irradiation densifies sugar in the body/bloodstream..” Ronald McGimpsey, Naturopath; ‘Master’ Healer;

    “Naturopath” Oh dear, oh dear.

    Science, please. Not fantasy.

  17. Thanks for the link, Arana, to the UK situation. Interesting that after a decade of irradiation, there’s still so much doubt about the safety that a review is needed.

    There are a lot of irrational people about demanding enquiries about one thing or another, certainly. I guess they like to reassure the neurotic from time to time.

    it needs to be labelled

    It doesn’t need to be labelled. You may demand it, some may recommend it, but that doesn’t meet it needs to happen. Let’s stick with the science, shall we? It’s either harmful, or it isn’t.

    The comments in sprouts link dispel the paranoia.

    I note Steffan has yet to provide any peer reviewed study for his claim.

  18. Thanks for the link, Arana, to the UK situation. Interesting that after a decade of irradiation, there’s still so much doubt about the safety that a review is needed. Also, the link says that such food must be labelled.
    If we are going to put this on the table (and if it’s in the supermarket, that’s where it’ll end up; despite the claim that people have choice of where to get food) it needs to be labelled AS per Arana’s link. Then there is choice.
    However, just because the UK does something, doesn’t mean we should follow. They may be able to run a safe coal mine.. but I think they monitor methane…
    Nice link sprout, “Radiolytic by-products” they don’t very nice.

  19. He’s the person trying to convince us it isn’t. I did some research, and found it is widely used and deemed safe. Not only is it safe, it can make food more safe than it would otherwise be by killing bacteria that cause food poisioning.

    http://www.food.gov.uk/policy-advice/irradfoodqa/

    “Decades of research worldwide have shown that irradiation of food is a safe and effective way to kill bacteria in foods and extend its shelf life. Food irradiation has been examined thoroughly by joint committees of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), by the European Community Scientific Committee for Food, the United States Food and Drug Administration and by a House of Lords committee. In 2011, the European Food Safety Authority reviewed the evidence and reasserted the opinion that food irradiation is safe.”

    If he has evidence to contrary, he should present it. Is he saying those authorities are wrong? On what basis?

  20. Can you demonstrate that irradiation is safe?
    If not, Steffan is right to stimulate debate. He may also be quite correct in his claim.

  21. I can’t. It may or may not be safe. By ‘safe’ I take it that Steffan is referring to potential health effects upon consumers of irradiated foods. He’ll have to clarify that. All along though, I’ve argued that there are aspects of the proposal to irradiate here in New Zealand, have wider implications than the direct effect of irradiated food on a consumer. I’d argue the same thing around genetically-engineered foods. For example, I would argue that crops engineered to contain bt severely disadvantage growers of organic fruit. You would, judging by your behaviour here, not want to discuss such auxiliary issues but they are critical to assessing the total effect of a proposed technology. It’s the same as with irradiation, there are associated issues that are worth debating. perhaps I’ll find someone with a less-narrow world-view than you, Arana, to discuss those with. Meanwhile, as you were.

  22. Fair call.

    He states irradiation is “not safe”, yet doesn’t back this up. Can you please demonstrate that irradiation is “not safe”?

  23. Steffan is arguing that irradiation of fruit and vegetables is not safe.
    He is not saying that its use is a threat to our biosecurity.
    The post is about more than biosecurity, it is clear.
    Our supermarkets could soon be stocking irradiated vegetables coming from Queensland.”
    “However, if a food can’t be imported without the use of irradiation then we really need to be taking a step back and looking at our options.”
    Just two examples outside of your narrow focus.

  24. Yes, Greenfly. The blog post clearly has nothing to do with biosecurity risk:

    “Our biosecurity in New Zealand is crucial to our economy and there is no way we should be loosening our standards. However, if a food can’t be imported without the use of irradiation then we really need to be taking a step back and looking at our options.

    We should be investing in better biosecurity technology and in our domestic fruit and vegetable producers to meet demand. If vegetables cannot be imported without risking biosecurity or using unsafe technology, then we shouldn’t import them. Eating locally grown and in season, or safely solving biosecurity risks are the only options.”

    Perhaps it is you who is living inside your own head as this post is about biosecurity and little else.

  25. That was something I agreed that he had yet to do. Both to define the “irradiation” and do show it as being unsafe. Some science would be useful… but that was not the point.

    I personally want to know about the GM content and residual pesticide content of my food (as these things appear to be related). If I am fortunate I will find a label that says GM free though I still know nothing about the pesticides for certain.

    More Generally:
    When a technology is applied to my food, with the expectation that I will be eating it, and until it has been proven safe over generations, I want to KNOW that technolog was applied. This is not unreasonable.

    Knowledge is power, and your philosophy is based on denying the people either. You can’t actually get away with peddling that stuff here. We don’t buy it.

    I WILL criticize Steffan and support your criticism, that he needs to show the science. I don’t think he has anything much more than what you call an “emotive” response to the word “radiation”. Maybe.

    My own understanding is only that it is possibly damaging to nutrients, rendering good food more filler than nutrition… but I haven’t looked at it in 20 years and I know of no real hazard apart from the waste of good money buying poor nutrition.

    If that was all it was, we’d still need to know. Wouldn’t we.

  26. “At the heart of this matter is that Steffan has failed to make a case that irradiation is “not safe” in terms of biosecurity.”

    You are wrong. That isn’t Steffan’s argument at all. No wonder you fail to engage with others here. You are ‘living inside of your own head’.
    You need to get out more :-)

  27. People out there don’t know what they don’t know… so you are telling us we need to educate the whole population until they rise up against the supermarkets and require the information… before you’ll accept a regulation is needed… and by your further comment you indicate that requiring information about products is “totalitarian”

    No, BJ.

    At the heart of this matter is that Steffan has failed to make a case that irradiation is “not safe” in terms of biosecurity. That was his argument. There is no risk analysis. There is no cost/benefit analysis.

    An emotive argument using the term “radiation” is just that – an appeal to emotion. It is intellectually weak. He has not made a reasoned case that regulation is needed.

    As far as co-ops go, seek to become the change you wish to see in the world.

  28. There isn’t a “co-op” here that I know of. There is a farmer’s market I can’t get to as a rule, because the hour and distance is not convenient, and there’s the rub, and I often buy canned or frozen goods because I don’t go every day.

    You have the cart before the horse. I point out ignorance and you are rejecting the notion that information needs to be provided. People out there don’t know what they don’t know… so you are telling us we need to educate the whole population until they rise up against the supermarkets and require the information… before you’ll accept a regulation is needed… and by your further comment you indicate that requiring information about products is “totalitarian”

    This would have to be regarded as an extreme view.. not one I can accept but one I did expect to get from you.

    I don’t need to know what is best for YOU.. to know what is best for the society.

  29. No, Greenfly.

    It was a suggestion on one constructive way to solve the problem you perceive. I’m not forcing you to do it. I’m not regulating to ensure you do it.

    Whether you do it, or not, is entirely up to you.

  30. Arana is adept at telling people what the should do – start a co-op, find a real philosophy, turn it around, head to your local organic supplier etc.
    Quite the dictator, aren’t we!

  31. “Most” people are ignorant and that is how the NEO-libertarian likes it

    I imagine you’re quite ignorant about many things you aren’t interested in. As am I. We’re all ignorant about many spheres of endeavour. But that doesn’t make the population “ignorant”. It is disappointing you think so little of the people you hope to convince.

    Find yourself a real philosophy mate. I’ve seen totalitarianism, and its results, and they really suck.

    You do not know what is best for me. You just think you do.

  32. You don’t have to run a supermarket yourself. You could simply join a co-op.

    What you’re going out of your way to label “libertarian” is simply offering consumers a choice. An organic farm offers people choice.

    If there are as many people concerned about the lack of information on food as you make out, then there is a big market not being served. These people can self-organise and take control. Form a homegrown business and appoint people to run it. Get local growers on board. If the demand is there, then you get everything you want AND you reduce the influence of big business supermarkets at the same time.

    That is constructive. Complaining that supermarkets don’t cater to your whims – isn’t.

    Might I suggest the reason few people are attempting what I propose is because they don’t really believe there are enough people who feel as they do?

    Or are they just too lazy?

  33. Yes, that’s the usual Libertarian approach… make everyone do everything themselves, and damn the competition and the waste of time. I HAVE a job, I do it very well, I am not skilled in running a fruit stand.

    Libertarian philosophy has some glaring and fatal defects – which is why it has never had even the impact of communism on the world, as loaded with defects THAT philosophy is.

    We do not know what “most” people care about unless they actually have a selection vector. “Most” people are ignorant and that is how the NEO-libertarian likes it. Ignorance allows corporates to do as they please under the guise of exercising freedom, while their actual work is to enable fraud at every scale. Which is why corporations are the most fervent admirers of the false philosophy.

    Find yourself a real philosophy mate. We’ve seen this one, and its results and they really suck.

  34. Arana – If “the people” require a label by acting through their elected representatives, that IS “the people”

    It’s not “the people”, it’s “some” people. You haven’t convinced “the people” it is terribly important.

    However, people have always preferred more specific information and it has gotten less and less expensive to provide that… the resistance comes from folks who would prefer to keep consumers in the dark… and strange as it seems, those folks invariably are not from the left, but from the right.

    Great. Start a co-op and go into competition with the supermarket chains. Provide all the information your heart desires.

    The *truth* of that matter is *most* people care about price, convenience and taste. This is why the supermarkets operate as they do. You may wish otherwise, but that is the truth, quantifiable and measurable.

  35. Arana – If “the people” require a label by acting through their elected representatives, that IS “the people” requiring something. It is also the actions of the people collectively where individuals have not the power to cause a change.

    The issue of what the irradiation is and how dangerous it might or might not be is important. An INFORMED population is the thing that libertarian thought, even more than any other political philosophy that utilizes democratic principles, depends on… but all democratic processes depend on them no matter the political persuasion.

    You cannot rely on an informed population if you do not allow that population, through their elected government, to require information of the suppliers of consumer goods. Can it be overdone? Of course. Is it in this case? I doubt it seriously.

    It might, given the multiple risk vectors that everyone concerns themselves with, be simpler to label the things that have none of them.

    It would apparently involve a lot less printing in any case :-)

    However, people have always preferred more specific information and it has gotten less and less expensive to provide that… the resistance comes from folks who would prefer to keep consumers in the dark… and strange as it seems, those folks invariably are not from the left, but from the right.

  36. Turn it around.

    Let’s say people want non-irradiated produce. This is great news for my local organic food distributor. They will take business away from the supermarkets. If the supermarkets do adopt your proposal, then my local organic distributor loses out. More profits go to SuperMarketMultiNationalHeadOffice.

    “Dirty dairying” has legs because it is true. However, it’s not affecting milk consumption, is it.

    Finally, you assume irradiating food is a bad thing. What if it is a good thing in terms of preventing pests? What if it is considerably more effective than any alternative in this respect? What if that *is* the truth?

    Maintaining a purist line (no imports! no irradiation! Down with this sort of thing!) may well increase risk. You may sway some of the public with emotive arguments, but you’re not going to sway the powers that be.

    This is why a risk analysis is useful.

  37. “I think labelling is a diversion.” – Arana.

    “I think labelling is an important issue here” – Greenfly.

    “Greenfly appears to be suggesting consumers require perfect information, or all the information he personally demands, in order to be able to make a choice.” – Arana.

    “Arana is extrapolating to suit her own purpose. I’m asking for irradiated food to be labled as such. Arana demonstrates her use of ridiculous extrapolation with this: “I don’t care about the supervisors name at the tyre factory” – showing she is willing to throw in nonsensical examples of her own creation, implying that others believe this.” – Greenfly

    “I don’t think emotive arguments are strong.” – Arana

    “I think emotive arguments are a powerful motivator of the public. Witness the “Dirty Dairying” emotive argument that forced Fonterra to make so many changes.” – Greenfly

  38. Arana – people won’t necessarily prefer non-irradiated food over irradiated food just because they perceive that the irradiated food is not as safe. The irradiation may be perceived as reducing the goodness of the food, or possibly just making poorer quality food look better. Therefore it makes sense that irradiated food should be labelled.

    I think labelling is a diversion.

    If consumers think that piece of information is important so they can make a choice, they will demand it. If they don’t, they won’t.

    Greenfly appears to be suggesting consumers require perfect information, or all the information he personally demands, in order to be able to make a choice. If this depth of information isn’t supplied, he has no choice. But this is false. People require the information they deem important in order to make a choice.

    If I buy a bicycle, I might care about the colour, the quality and the features. I don’t care about the supervisors name at the tyre factory. Do I have perfect information? No. Can I still make a choice? Yes.

    I don’t think emotive arguments are strong. I don’t think they last. They take a lot of energy to sustain. I’m a little disappointed at Steffans approach – I think it lacks intellectual rigour.

  39. Arana – people won’t necessarily prefer non-irradiated food over irradiated food just because they perceive that the irradiated food is not as safe. The irradiation may be perceived as reducing the goodness of the food, or possibly just making poorer quality food look better. Therefore it makes sense that irradiated food should be labelled.

    On the other hand, some people may perceive that irradiated food may be better value as it may keep longer or it may have already deteriorated less, so that it is better quality at the time of use than the non-irradiated food, so the supermarkets, etc may actually want to advertise the irradiated food as such.

    Trevor.

  40. My understanding from a long time ago, of the irradiated usage was that it was being exposed to a neutron source… not x-rays/gamma-rays.

    What the term means needs to be defined, information on the risk needs to be presented, and while I needn’t shop at the supermarket for any particular thing, I have not the time and neither does anyone else not either independently wealthy or wholly unemployed, to fill all my needs outside it.

    :-)

  41. Thanks, Arana. I’m motivated now to attack this proposal at all levels, starting with public opinion. That’s easy, because I can employ my skills at writing emotionally-charged letters. Public opinion forces change and that’s the most effective way to go, I believe. Putting supermarkets in a difficult position will pressure the regulators and make it easier for politicians like Steffan to challenge and change these proposals.
    Cheers
    Greenfly

  42. How can I choose to buy or not buy irradiated foods at a supermarket, if they don’t lable them as such?

    No one forces you to shop at a supermarket, Greenfly. Head to your local organic supplier.

    Unless they lable, my freedom of choice is taken away from me, or at least compromised.

    Just because a supermarket doesn’t provide a piece of information you demand doesn’t mean you don’t have choice.

    For example, a religious person might not want their lemons picked by a non-religious person. Should the supermarket provide picking information, too? If a supermarket had to provide every piece of information a customer might demand, then the sticker would be rather large and the prices of everything would rise. In short, it is unreasonable.

    That “won’t be able to” indicates loss of choice right there.

    It depends how many people want that choice. The supermarket doesn’t have to provide it just because some people demand it. They will provide it if enough of their *customers* feel it’s important.

    So your job is convince people it is. This blog post doesn’t do this, as there is no evidence provided to back the assertion it is a problem.

    We can do better than an emotive argument about “radiation”, can’t we?

  43. gf As is so typical of threads on this blog, muddying the waters and skewing the thread with off topic non-issues such as ‘such as social issues, issues of ethics and so on’ does nothing for addressing the initial statement about irradiation being unsafe. Purely a black and white scientific issue that Arana has rightly attempted to argue.

  44. One correction – visible light is NOT ionising radiation. Only ultraviolet and higher energy electromagnetic radiation is ionising. Lower energy electromagnetic radiation including infra-red and microwave, cell phones, wi-fi, bluetooth, television and radio are not ionising. (However the older CRT television sets can emit ionising X-Rays from their screens.)

    Irradiated food is not itself radioactive. In this respect, it is safer than food that has been treated with pesticides, etc. I am not aware of any evidence that irradiated food poses any risks not already present in non-irradiated food, and therefore I see no justification in keeping irradiated food out of the country. However I support the clear labeling of food as irradiated so consumers can make a choice. I would also like to see supermarkets stock non-irradiated food, but this may turn out to be uneconomical if the buyers vote with their wallets for the irradiated food.

    Trevor.

  45. How can I choose to buy or not buy irradiated foods at a supermarket, if they don’t lable them as such?
    Impossible.
    Unless they lable, my freedom of choice is taken away from me, or at least compromised.
    Supermarkets might “choose to ignore me, and I might choose to intensify my protest. You might be choosing to argue the narrow field – organic/local food is available elsewhere so what are you complaining about’, but the iussue is broader and as I say, you are timorous about stepping into that broader discussion. There will be a reason for that.
    The argument around irradiation of fruits and vegetables isn’t strictly one of science, there are other important factors, such as social issues, issues of ethics and so on. Trying to keep the argument on the science reveals a fear of those other influences, in my opinion.
    Nevertheless, to address your point:
    “My point was made in regards to the availability of local, organic produce. It is available, so you don’t need to buy *any* vegetables from a supermarket.” – you are incorrect and should have said, “you won’t be able to buy vegetables (that are guarenteed non-irradiated) from a supermarket. That “won’t be able to” indicates loss of choice right there.

  46. There was irradiation of food going in in New Zealand in the sixties. I saw it, as a kid, but sadly cant remember much detail.

  47. Time to begin demanding that supermarkets don’t carry irradiated fruits and vegetables.

    You could, but they can choose to ignore you. You have a choice not to buy them, as no one is forcing you to do so.

    I have no problem with it being available as I’ve yet to be convinced they are a health issue. I have seen no cost/benefit analysis that demonstrates it costs us more than it benefits us.

    We should be able to construct a rational argument, based on science, yes?

  48. Assume what you like, it doesn’t change the argument.

    Excellent. These irradiated foods will be labled as such. Choice is paramount, eh!

    You’re conflating the argument with labelling. My point was made in regards to the availability of local, organic produce. It is available, so you don’t need to buy *any* vegetables from a supermarket.

    That is your choice.

  49. “I expect a supermarket to meet the demands of their customers.”

    Me too!
    Time to begin demanding that supermarkets don’t carry irradiated fruits and vegetables. You’ve inspired me, old chap! (If you are not old, I apologise in advance.)

  50. “Playing the man”
    You’re a man? My apologies. I assumed you were a woman.
    “Choice” you say?
    Excellent. These irradiated foods will be labled as such. Choice is paramount, eh! I wonder if the milk from cows that are presently being fed ge-cottonseed on our dairy farms will be labled “GE”, or where the cows have been grazed on land manured with chicken shit from chickens that have been fed imported ge-grain?
    Choice!

  51. I have yet to see enough data to convince me that the radiation that kills the bugs also alters the food value in a way that makes it dangerous. I have seen some notional information that it may destroy some vitamins.

    I would prefer more data… both on the radiation AND on the labels of the stuff I buy at the market. It isn’t all that easy to nail down the source of some of the products… not always hard but I have had more than a few 10 minute puzzles trying to work out the source of a thing.

    That my eyesight does not allow me to read microdots anymore may be a contributing factor in this :-)

    We need some more evidence, and this time it is up to someone else to produce it. :-)

  52. Nip down to your local supermarket and give that a shot, Arana.

    I did yesterday. There was NZ grown food on display. I could also join the local organic co-op market delivery service. They provide all local vegetables and fruit. I could also grow my own and swap with neighbours. So, there is choice.

    Or do you believe people who want to buy local food have no right to expect to find any at the supermarket – exclusive to those willing to eat imported stuff, you think?

    I expect a supermarket to meet the demands of their customers. If you feel there is demand not being met by supermarkets, then you are free to compete with them. Our local food co-op is doing just that with their local “organic in a box” service. A market response to a market problem.

    As for ‘substantiating ‘food sovereignty’, I assume from your position and degree of adamance, that you are connected to the food industry

    No, I just like debating. There is no need to attack the messenger. Rather, play the ball.

    If you choose not to ‘consider it’, then my interest in your views lessens somewhat.

    Again, that is playing the man, rather than addressing my points.

  53. “people are still free to choose local.”
    Nip down to your local supermarket and give that a shot, Arana. Let us know what you manage to find. Or do you believe people who want to buy local food have no right to expect to find any at the supermarket – exclusive to those willing to eat imported stuff, you think?
    As for ‘substantiating ‘food sovereignty’, I assume from your position and degree of adamance, that you are connected to the food industry and that you’ll be well aware of the concept. If you choose not to ‘consider it’, then my interest in your views lessens somewhat.

  54. “A cost benefit analysis”? We are about to begin irradiating tasteless Queensland capsicum and tomatoes because of “trade agreements”? Not because the Aus Government has finally woken up that Fenthion, malathion and dimethoate are dangerous for human health? After 50+ years of assurances by food safety authorities both sides of the ditch that organophosphates were safe I am deeply concerned at the cynicism and conflicts of interests within FSANZ [where NZ has only 1 vote to Australia's 10] and NZFSA.As a special needs teacher with many years under my belt I have done my own “cost benefit analysis”. I don’t think many people realise the very insidious,subtle and hidden costs of tampering with the food chain until they are in my line of work.Many of the kids I work with are the canaries in the coalmine. I need more than Wiki references and a NZFSA assurance that irradiation is safe.NZFSA are so focused on “free trade” at all “costs” their assurances have as much integrity as those of a Pike River Mine Executive

  55. the effects on ‘food sovereignty’.You seem, Arana, to be unaware of this critical aspect.

    I’m asking you to substantiate it. Then I will consider it.

  56. I absolutely support Steffan’s call for eating locally grown and seasonally-available food. Do that, and there’s no need for irradiation.
    Take control of your own destiny.

    That’s one option, and people are free to do so. There is nothing stopping them.

    However, the call is to stop this type of processing, thus limiting consumer choice. The rationale appears to be on safety grounds. In which case, where is the risk analysis?

    The other objection appears based on the idea “local is good”. Well, again, people are still free to choose local. No one denies them this right. Where is the cost/benefit analysis on limiting food imports? What damage would this do to our export sector? Consumer choice? Affordability of vegetables?

    Again, I point to the irony that if our export markets reasoned this way, then NZ would face a bleak future. The costs would be significant i.e. a lot less to spend on health, welfare, and the rest.

  57. For me, it’s not the risk that may be involved with eating an irradiated tomato, for example, but the wider repercussions of a regime of irratiating – the effects on ‘food sovereignty’.
    You seem, Arana, to be unaware of this critical aspect.

  58. I absolutely support Steffan’s call for eating locally grown and seasonally-available food.
    Do that, and there’s no need for irradiation.
    Take control of your own destiny.

  59. Who did the studies?? People independent of Min. of Agriculture< FASNZ or AgResearch??
    Poor animals! The researchers must have missed something!
    What would they get food-poisoning from, one wonders..

  60. You’d have to prove this process carries significant risk.

    According to WIki, backed by references:

    “Hundreds of animal feeding studies of irradiated food, including multigenerational studies, have been performed since 1950.[51] Endpoints investigated have included subchronic and chronic changes in metabolism, histopathology, and function of most systems; reproductive effects; growth; teratogenicity; and mutagenicity. A large number of studies have been performed; meta-studies have supported the safety of irradiated food”

    If you detected some risk, you’d have to weigh this risk against the risk of the problem they are trying to solve i.e. food poisoning, fruit flies, etc.

    Then you’d have to do a cost-benefit analysis.

    Stefan has yet to offer much in the way of evidence, or cost/benefit analysis, only assertions.

  61. Nothing especially wrong with being het-up, Arana. It doesn’t help one think clearly though, I’ve found. How about this,
    “…safely solving biosecurity risks…”.
    Surely that is the only option.
    Are you suggesting we should solve them unsafely?

  62. Whoops!!! So sorry; you’re not seeing double. By the time I checked to see which post covered the points, time was up for editing; and I can’t seem to bring up a “delete’. Oh well…..

  63. ..”isn’t backed by evidence…”

    Hi, Arana, The points I have learned re irradiation are these:- (Retired N.Z.R.N)

    “Irradiation densifies sugar in the body/bloodstream..” Ronald McGimpsey, Naturopath; ‘Master’ Healer; of thirty years’ research and experience.

    “It destroys Vitamin K – the nutrient which prevents haemorrhage; it prevents blood from being too thin. (Vit. E does the opposite) Advice is recommended before taking either as a supplement rather than as in foods. Several Health Magazines’ research articles have maintained this.
    Nettle tea is high in Vit. K – and I have proved it to be effective in counteracting e.e. nosebleed.

    “…if a food can’t be imported without the use of irradiation, then we really need to be taking a step baCk and look at our options…” (Steffan)
    I’ll say!! .. And If FASNZ approves this application from Queensland, they are acting with total disregard for the wellbeing and health of New Zealanders – including those smallest and most vulnerable to damaging products:- i.e. the children.

  64. Points I have read/learned about irradiation are these:

    It destroys the vitamin K content; and vitamin K is the nutrient which prevents haemorrhage i.e. keeps the blood from being too thin. (Vit. E does the opposite; advice is recommended if taking either as a supplement rather than as in foods.)

    Safer to have less tomatoes and capsicums until we can fulfil our own people’s needs, rather than bring in such a risky product – many people would not realise they were buying an unhealthy product, anyway.

    I’d guess it would destroy Vitamin C (after all heat does);… and no doubt other nutrients.

    “..if a food can’t be imported without the use of irradiation then we really need to be taking a step back and looking at our options…”
    If FASNZ does approve this application from Queensland, it is acting with total disregard for the wellbeing and health of New Zealanders – especially the smallest, most vulnerable to damaging products: i.e. the children..

    “Radiation densifies sugar in the body/blood” Naturopath/healer Robald McGimpsey

  65. Sorry Greenfly, I didn’t mean to sound that way, but admit it came across that way.

    It just seems to me the argument doesn’t stack up as it isn’t backed by evidence or a risk analysis.

  66. “Eating locally grown and in season, or safely solving biosecurity risks are the only options.”

    The “only” options? They are *some* options. Your options involve raising the cost to the consumer, which will not do much for the poor. You haven’t made a case based on a risk analysis, as yet.

    Let’s hope our trading partners don’t think eating local is the way to go, else we’ll turn into a third world country, as our export revenue will dry up. You may wish to consider the environmental standards of third world countries.

  67. Why do you assert that “Irradiation is not safe”? “Safe” compared to what? Not irradiating? Where’s the evidence against cold pasteurization? Where are the numbers?

    Incidentally, do you drink pasteurized milk? Should milk and dairy not be pasteurized?

    How about food from a microwave? Dangerous? One may also wish to consider the sun.

    Is one in danger of using the term “radiation” emotively and pejoratively?

  68. Would you mind providing some explanation and references as to how this is dangerous? Such a claim is in dire need of a citation.

  69. “Irradiation is not safe. It is the treating a food with ionizing radiation to kill bugs.”

    Kindly provide (peer reviewed) sources for this claim. Also contrast the effects of irradiation with the effects of pesticides. Please also note that ionising radiation is *everywhere* in our environment, coming from cosmic rays and naturally occurring radioactive materials.

    Yes, ionising radiation damages living tissue (hence its amazing usefulness in treating cancer, sterilising medical equipment and killing harmful organisms on fruit and vegetables), so *direct exposure* to ionising radiation should be limited. However, using ionising radiation on a piece of fruit does not make that piece of fruit radioactive, so eating it will not expose you to any radiation (beyond naturally occurring background radiation from the environment).

    Please stop the anti-scientific scaremongering and substantiate your claims.

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