About E. coli

From the nation’s leading law firm representing victims of E. coli and other foodborne illness outbreaks.

About E. coli Blog

Is irradiation the answer to safer food?

Dr. Mike Osterholm, a nationally known food-safety and infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota, argues that the public has some misperceptions about irradiation.

Dr. Mike Osterholm, a nationally known food-safety and infectious-disease expert at the University of Minnesota, argues that the public has some misperceptions about irradiation.
 
“The food does not become radioactive, as many people seem to think,” says Osterholm. It’s what NASA uses to sterilize astronauts’ meals, he said, and is also widely used to decontaminate spices.

Osterholm says irradiation could prevent hundreds of thousands of cases of food-borne illness every year, and save hundreds of lives.

But opponents say that irradiation can harm food by killing nutrients and, in some circumstances, generate cancer-causing chemicals. They also argue that there are other ways to protect the food supply, such as better sanitation and inspections.

“I don’t think irradiation is a solution,” said Dr. David Wallinga, director of the food and health program at the St. Paul, Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy. “It’s at best a Band-Aid on a much bigger problem.”
 

Connect with Marler Clark

Office:

1012 First Avenue
Fifth Floor
Seattle, WA 98104

Hours:

M-F, 8:30 am - 5:00 pm, Pacific

Call toll free:

1 (800) 884-9840

If you have questions about foodborne illness, your rights or the legal process, we’d be happy to answer them for you.