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VeganMegan
05-13-2003, 12:15 PM
I don't use a microwave because of how damaging it is and I stay clear of foods that have been irradiated. This article sort of confirms that there must be something really wrong at SureBeam and with irradiation if they wouldn't let them tour the facility. Iíll have to dig into this and find out what is and isnít true about this. You are what you eat.


SureBeam Irradiation Facility - Something to Hide? (http://www.organicconsumers.org/irrad/surebeam050803.cfm)

May 7, 2003 Contact: Patty Lovera (202) 454-5132
Erica Hartman
(202) 454-5174
NEWS ALERT

Consumer Organization Barred from Touring Food Irradiation Facility
With Other Conference Attendees


CHICAGO - Organizers of an international conference on food
irradiation barred a Public Citizen staff member from touring an
irradiation facility today, despite the fact that the tour was a
conference activity. A staff member of the national consumer advocacy
group has participated in other parts of the conference, which was
organized by Michigan State University.


The tour of SureBeam Corp.'s irradiation facility in the Chicago suburb
of Glendale Heights was included on the official agenda of the First
World Congress on Food Irradiation. Promotional materials for the
conference specifically included consumer groups in "Who Should Attend."
But when a Public Citizen staff member signed up for the event, he was
told he could not attend. Organizers told him this was due to "requests
for increased security and corporate confidentiality" by SureBeam.


"Suggesting that we are security threat is ridiculous and
insulting," said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's Critical
Mass Energy and Environment Program. "If this facility cannot withstand
public scrutiny, what are they hiding? This smacks of discrimination."


In their promotional materials, SureBeam often tells consumers
that their process is no more involved than a microwave they would use
in their home. "If the process is as harmless as they say, why can't we
go see it?" Hauter said.


Irradiation uses ionizing radiation that alters the molecular
structure of food in an attempt to kill pathogens and insects. The
process can destroy nutrients, change the taste, smell and appearance of
food, and produce new chemical compounds, some of which have been found
to promote cancer development and cause genetic and cellular damage in
rats and human cells.


SureBeam, a company spun off from a San Diego-based defense
contractor, has struggled to promote its technology to consumers and
government regulators and has lost $113 million since 1997. SureBeam
has been an outspoken advocate for labeling irradiated foods as
"pasteurized," although that is a distinctly different process that uses
rapid heating and cooling to partially sterilize liquid products, namely
milk. The company also has tried to mislead consumers by comparing
irradiation to microwaving.


In 2001, SureBeam began building its Glendale Heights
irradiation facility without receiving necessary air permits from the
state. The company applied for a permit to release ozone into the air
only after the state agency ordered it to do so, under pressure from a
local citizens group.
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Public Citizen is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.
that advocates for consumer protection, and for government and corporate
accountability. Please visit www.citizen.org/cmep.