HIGHTOWER: Irradiation Insanity

A doctor says to a patient, "What's ailing you." The patient twists his arm way back behind him and says, "Doc, it hurts when I do this." The doctor slaps him upside the head and says, "So, dummy, stop doing that!"I thought of this old slapstick routine when I heard that the US Department of Agriculture has recently ruled that the giant meat packers can now start irradiating the raw beef, pork, and lamb they sell to us. That's right, USDA authorized them to zap our burgers, chops, and steaks with a heavy dose of X-rays, using radioactive cobalt-60 to do the job. How heavy of a dose? Each package of meat gets hit with the radiation equivalent of up to 70 million x-rays that you get in your doctors office.It doesn't make the meat radioactive, but it does shrink the nutritional value, alter the taste, kill the beneficial bacteria that meat provides, destroy vitamins A, B1, and E, and create new chemicals in the meat that might be cancer-causing. Irradiation also raises the price by about a nickel a pound. And get this: There have been no studies on the long-term health effects all this will have on us. Our families are the industry's guinea pigs.USDA and the industry say irradiating meat is necessary to "protect us" from such deadly bacteria as E. coli, which, in the past decade, has contaminated so much of the meat we eat. But what they don't want you to know is that this gross contamination is the direct result of the disease-causing factory feedlots that cattle are now subjected to and by the sloppy practices and filthy facilities of the meat packers themselves.This is Jim Hightower saying ... So, dummies, stop doing that! If the industry would simply clean up its own act and stop contaminating the meat, there would be no need to make the problem worse by further contaminating the meat through irradiation. To fight this irradiation insanity, call Public Citizen: 202-546-4996.

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