Photo via: Cliff1066
Food irradiation is basically the process of passing radiation through food in order to sterilize it and make it safe for consumption. It has the ability to rid most foods of disease harboring microbes, such as E Coli. It has been touted as a miracle in many areas of the world where disease harboring microbes take hundreds of lives each year.
But what happens when such a miracle becomes fatal...Irradiated food has been a controversial process in Australia for about a decade now, but it has recently come under the microscope and slapped a ban due to a rash of cat deaths. At first, the account of around 90 recorded illnesses at a vet clinic was nothing more than a mystery, but one veterinarian, Dr. Georgina Child, put two and two together.
Dr. Child found that these ill cats had one thing in common, a certain pet food called Orijen, which is exported from Canada. Orijen by Australian government standards has to be subjected to very high doses of radiation before it is considered safe for animal consumption, due to temperatures the food is cooked/processed.
Too Much of a Good Thing
Dr. Child believes that the high doses of radiation is altering the food enough to cause neurological damage in certain cats. She has no idea why the radiation is effecting the frisky felines negatively, but the government did not wait around to find out. They have issued a ban on all radiated cat food until further notice.
For humans, many of our own produce goes under the beam, such as various herbs and tropical fruits. Most Quarantine and Inspection services will tell you that the irradiated process is completely safe for both humans and animals. The real question going into the future, is at what cost is this extra amount of safety, and is it worth the risk?
What many Australian consumers are calling for, is labels on irradiated food. This would put the responsibility of food safety on the consumer's themselves, rather than the government! So in effect we would be choosing our own poison (or the poison for our pets)... bacteria or radiation. Which would you rather take the chance on?