Irradiated foods on US plates

Many conventionally (non-organic) grown/processed veggies, fruits, meats and eggs are exposed to radiation to kill all bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc. (From: EPA).

Alert: Radiation induces formation of carcinogen formaldehyde from carbohydrates (fructose, sucrose, glucose)! (From: FDA and NIH).

Irradiation Indicator Logo is on the right:

One Gray (Gy) is a relatively large amount of radiation. If 3-4 Gray are delivered over a short time to the whole body, they can be deadly (From: Energy Dept).

Food Type Dose (kiloGrays)
fruit 1
poultry 3
spices, seasonings 30

(Data source for the above table: EPA)

  • Restaurant Foods: FDA does not require labeling of irradiated food served in restaurants.(From: EPA)
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  • Retail Foods: FDA requires labeling of packaged, irradiated food sold at retail stores. Irradiated, whole foods sold in bulk, such as fruits and vegetables, also must display the label.(From: EPA)
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  • No label is required for food products that contain irradiated ingredients, such as spices, as long as the entire product has not been irradiated.(From: EPA)
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  • Wholesale Foods: Irradiated foods sold at the wholesale level also must be labeled. However, both the shipping container and the invoice or bill of lading must display the statement, “Do not irradiate again.” FDA has not evaluated products that have been irradiated more than once. (From: EPA)
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  • Alternative names for irradiation are “Electronically Pasteurized” or “Cold Pasteurized.” (From: FDA) or “Treated with Radiation” or “Treated by Irradiation” (From: FDA)
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  • World Health Organization approves removal of maximum irradiation limit. (From: W.H.O.)
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  • As part of the 2002 Farm Bill, Congress directed USDA to permit the use of irradiation technology for food purchased for the National School Lunch Program (From: USDA)
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