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February 1, 1995

Irradiation and Contaminated Meat

Author Affiliations

Center for Science in the Public Interest Washington, DC

JAMA. 1995;273(5):378. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520290030023

To the Editor.  —Assistant Secretary Philip R. Lee lauded the ability of irradiation to reduce foodborne illness,1 but he failed to acknowledge the potential risks to workers and the environment that would result from widespread use of irradiation by poultry processors and others. He also ignored irradiation-induced vitamin losses.Instead of installing irradiation facilities at meat and poultry slaughterhouses and packinghouses, the US Food and Drug Administration and Department of Agriculture should require good manufacturing practices (hazard analysis and critical control points) and establish microbiological standards to ensure the safety of our food supply. Not only would that be more acceptable to many consumers, it could also be less expensive.In the short run, US Department of Agriculture estimates that irradiation could add as much as 10 cents per pound to the cost of meat (oral communication, Tanya Roberts, Economic Research Service, July 16,1994). Estimates for on-site cobalt 60

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