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Compelling Irradiation Video

Jim Prevor’s Perishable Pundit, June 29, 2007

We received a letter dealing with irradiation, which we publish in today’s Pundit’s Mailbag. Take four minutes out of your life to watch an NBC video with dramatic footage of executives at Sadex Corp, including Harlan Clemmons, President of the company, eating salad after it has been contaminated with E. coli and then irradiated.

Then Produce Pete does a taste test. Kevin Reilly, Deputy Director, Prevention Services for the California Department of Health Services, says the risk is miniscule, so he eats fresh lettuce and spinach — although he is diabetic.

The video ends with an interview with a mother whose child was sickened by an outbreak on fresh produce declaring that even a small risk is not OK — because her child got sick.

There are really only two things you can say about that mother’s interview:

First, she is clearly making an irrational statement. One doubts she will stop her child from riding in cars, flying in airplanes and doing a hundred things far more dangerous than eating produce.

Second, it is just as clear that policy makers have no stomach for fighting with her. No amounts of deaths or serious illness will be considered acceptable in fresh produce. That is why we need a kill step.

You can see the video here.

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