USA Regulators to allow radiation for spinach, lettuce
By Michael Doyle and Robert Rodriguez
FDA: Irradiating Spinach, Lettuce OK to Kill Germs
Federal regulators are expected today to let processors for the first time use radiation to kill bacteria in spinach and iceberg lettuce.
The step will protect consumers and growers, who have been battered by E. coli outbreaks in recent years.
But are shoppers ready for irradiated vegetables?
Experts point out that meat and some other foods have been treated with radiation for years, with little or no resistance from shoppers. But that may be simply because few are aware of the practice.
Anuradha Prakash, an assistant professor at Chapman University and an expert on food irradiation, said consumers are ready to make their food safer given the outbreaks that have occurred in the past few years related to fresh produce.
"But there will have to be lots of consumer education before they will accept it," Prakash said.
Christine Bruhn, a University of California food science marketing specialist and director of the UC Davis Center for Consumer Research, agreed. She said that while some consumers are ready, most are unaware of the practice.
"Maybe the science community has not spoken enough about this," Bruhn said. "But they will be doing it more and more now."
The Food and Drug Administration is set to formally give the green light today to a practice officials have concluded is safe. The long-awaited decision comes in the wake of high-profile bacterial outbreaks involving tainted California greens.
Also see: ABC News: FDA: Irradiating Spinach, Lettuce OK to Kill Germs