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Irradiated Garlic

David Stern

Safe Food News, Fall 1994 issue, reported that China has been exporting irradiated garlic. Irradiation is the process of exposing raw and/or processed food to ionizing radiation, which claims to kill disease and pathogens and extend the shelf-life by altering a plant's (clove's) ability to sprout. This would be a marketing advantage and one reason the big U.S. producers were trying to prohibit the garlic imports.

The Chinese ambassador to the United States (Li Daoyu) has denied these allegations. However, representatives from the U.S. industry claim they have seen the facilities in China, and import agents claim it as a marketing tool. To comply with U.S. law, irradiated products must be so labeled at point-of-purchase, and the process is considered highly controversial. Many consumers are very suspicious of how the process alters the food, vitamins and nutritional values and the subsequent effects on our bodies. Environmental concerns are centered around the use of dangerous radioactive isotopes.

We'll keep you posted on this one!

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