Ideological attacks on food irradiation hinder efforts to save lives and enhance the safety of the food supply, the Grocery Manufacturers of America said today. In response to the latest series of orchestrated attacks on irradiation led by the group Public Citizen, GMA said the scientific evidence supporting the benefits of food irradiation is overwhelming.

"The bottom line is that food irradiation can help save lives," said Lisa Katic, a registered dietitian and GMA Director, Scientific and Nutrition Policy. "The General Accounting Office - Congress' independent investigation agency - reviewed more than 50 years worth of scientific evidence on food irradiation. Their verdict: food irradiation is a safe, effective tool for reducing foodborne pathogens."

Scientific bodies from around the world have attested to the safety and the benefits of food irradiation, according to Dr. Lester Crawford, Director of the Georgetown Center for Food and Nutrition Policy.

"You can't erase decades of scientific substantiation," said Crawford, former Administrator at the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service and former Director of FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. "From the American Medical Association to the World Health Organization, the mainstream scientific and medical community around the globe has attested to the safety of irradiation."

GMA's Katic noted that irradiation "will never be considered as a stand-alone tool to ensure food safety. Manufacturers work every day to assure the safety and quality of the products sold to consumers. Irradiation is just an extra weapon in the food safety arsenal.

"Sadly, misinformation about irradiation and proposed moratoriums on its use - like current legislation proposed in New Jersey - hinder efforts to enhance the safety of the world's food supply," she said. "Acceptance of pasteurization was long delayed because of fear mongering and misinformation. We should not let that happen with food irradiation."

GMA hosts an Irradiation Facts and Figures page on its Web site, at www.gmabrands.com/pubpolicy/irradiation/index.cfm.


GMA is the world's largest association of food, beverage and consumer product companies. With U.S. sales of more than $460 billion, GMA members employ more than 2.5 million workers in all 50 states. The organization applies legal, scientific and political expertise from its member companies to vital food, nutrition and public policy issues affecting the industry. Led by a board of 42 Chief Executive Officers, GMA speaks for food and consumer product manufacturers at the state, federal and international levels on legislative and regulatory issues. The association also leads efforts to increase productivity, efficiency and growth in the food, beverage and consumer products industry.