Blog: End of the road for SureBeam
Catherine Sleep | 13 January 2004
US food safety company SureBeam has thrown in the towel and will be out of business by the end of the week. Never quite achieving profitability , the company has seen some 95% knocked off its stock market value in the last year.
SureBeam’s flagship product is irradiation for food products. After a number of years of relative calm, the controversial issue of irradiation is firmly back on the agenda of the world food industry. Despite the USDA approving the inclusion of irradiated ground beef in school meal programmes and the World Health Organisation and the American Medical Association endorsing the process, consumer acceptance remains sluggish.
The European Parliament has imposed a moratorium on the irradiation of almost all food, and consumer advocacy groups have voiced powerful opposition. SureBeam has long been relying on obtaining FDA approval for its petition to irradiate ready-to-eat foods. Due last February, approval was initially delayed to July, then October, and still it hasn’t been forthcoming. It’s now too late for SureBeam, which has been pinning its hopes on a technology whose day has simply not yet come.
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