EAT TASTE HEAL: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living
home about the book authors table of contents sample recipes press gallery order
Why Buy Organic?
ayurveda 101
what's my dosha?
the six tastes
ayurveda detox
ayurvedic resources
why buy organic?
why buy organic?
genetic modification
food additives
refined foods
microwaved foods
water quality
cow's milk
healthy food resources

Irradiation is a process of passing food through nuclear-derived gamma rays before packaging. This process has become increasingly popular with the food industry in recent years as a way to increase shelf-life and combat food-borne diseases such as E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella. In the 1960s, the U.S. military first began serving irradiated foods to its personnel. The FDA halted the use of these foods, however, after irradiated sugar was shown to damage human chromosomes and affect cell growth.

International food scares such as Mad Cow Disease brought irradiation back with a vengeance in 2000, when the USDA legalized the irradiation of beef and other animal products. Most foods are now approved for irradiation in the U.S., including grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables. While labeling is required for any irradiated product sold in a store, restaurants and cafeterias are not required to label these foods.

Currently, no long-term studies have been conducted on food irradiation. Short-term studies have shown irradiation to produce free radicals and other potentially carcinogenic byproducts in the body. It has also been shown to destroy important vitamins and enzymes in food. After European studies demonstrated that irradiated fats contain cancer-causing properties, the European Union limited food irradiation to spices and dried herbs.

Proponents of food irradiation emphasize its important role in making foods safe. Similar in function to taking a pill to mask the symptoms of an illness, however, irradiating food does not address the underlying problem. It merely allows unhealthy and inhumane cycles of growing and production to continue. Only by breaking this cycle will change occur—a change we can all support by refusing to purchase irradiated foods.

© 2014 Five Elements Press Eat • Taste • Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living email: