Okay, the weirdness of food safety activism is coming back to me. As in, realizing the kind of dreadful food that is being irradiated and then actually calling on people to avoid it because it’s being treated with radiation. Um, people, you shouldn’t be eating this dreck in the first place.
It reminds me of when we learned many years ago that the Hormel Corporation was thinking about irradiating SPAM. So what? was my first thought. How much worse can a little radiation make its dreadful contents? But a campaign is a campaign and, more importantly, more carcinogens in SPAM are still more carcinogens in SPAM. We won’t bother with the nutritional arguments here.
Well, it’s déjà vu all over again here. Because my new irradiation research has revealed that one of the biggest supporters of meat irradiation in the U.S. is Schwan’s, the home-delivery company whose yellow trucks should be familiar to anyone who’s spent time in the suburbs.
So, in that case, it’s not surprising that Schwan’s would see a need for a little radiation-cover-up. Imagine, for example, where their beef comes from? Hint: The largest and most industrial (read: cheap and filthy) sources. And then imagine the factories where tens of thousands of pounds of this fecal matter-riddled beef gets processed into the pre-formed patties and other products that should very loosely be considered “meat” in the first place.
It’s a recipe for disaster (pun intended).
But for corporations like Schwan’s, the solution to their dirty food problems isn’t to clean it up. Hardly. Instead, they reach for one toxic-quick-fix after another that only makes the underlying problem (dirty food) worse.
They try more antibiotics. They try chemical rinses. And now, they’re trying irradiation. Worse, they’re employing all these gimmicks on the same hamburger patties. Hmm, I wonder what irradiated antibiotics and chemical rinses taste like? More importantly, I wonder what they do to your health? No one knows, because the Food & Drug Administration has never bothered to ask or study or, apparently, care.
But let’s get back to the “radiation-cover-up” theme. It’s the marketing Achilles heel of the technology. Corporations employing irradiation are doing so because they know they’ve got a filthy product. In the case of meat, the filth is fecal matter. But they are counting on their consumers to be so uninterested in the contents of what they eat that they won’t care that irradiated fecal matter is still…well…fecal matter. Yum.
While avoiding Schwan’s foods should be one of the easiest things to do, avoiding the precedent of Schwan’s use of irradiation is a different matter. By contracting with irradiation corporations, Schwan’s is keeping the technology alive, endorsing the further industrialization of the food supply, and stymieing critical efforts to move the food supply in a safer and saner direction.