Irradiated foods have no place in school cafeterias

This letter was sent to Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell.

June 17, 2004

Re: Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization and irradiation

Dear Senator _________,

On behalf of our 40,000 members, I’m writing to encourage you to advocate some important measures to the Child Nutrition Act Reauthorization.

The House version of this bill contains several important aspects, which our organization heartily supports. These include provisions that USDA cannot mandate the use of irradiated foods or provide incentives for schools to serve irradiated food, that irradiated products cannot be mixed with non-irradiated products, and that schools will be encouraged always to offer a non-irradiated option.

It’s important that the Senate bill adds one measure — clear labeling for menu items that are irradiated and prominent signage in cafeterias when irradiated food is being served. Irradiated food currently does not have to be labeled when served in the National School Lunch Program — a flagrant violation of the right to know what our children are eating.

The American people have spoken loudly and clearly on irradiation. More than 98 percent responding to an FDA survey say they want irradiated foods clearly labeled. Irradiation is known to destroy vitamin and nutrient values and creates new, untested chemicals in food called Unique Radiolytic Products, some of which are known or suspected to promote cancer and birth defects. There are no long-term studies on the safety of consuming irradiated food. Irradiation does not address unwholesome conditions in some processing plants and does not remove contaminants. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration did not follow its own testing protocols in approving irradiation.

As the largest consumer-owned retailer of natural foods in the United States, PCC Natural Markets urges you to advocate labeling and signage in addition to the provisions of the House measure.


Tracy Wolpert
Chief Executive Officer

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