FDA's approval of irradiation for spinach and lettuce

September 23, 2008

Re: Docket # FDA-1999-F-2405
“Use of Ionizing Radiation for the Control of Food-Borne Pathogens and Infectious Protozoa, and Extension of Shelf-Life, in a Variety of Human Foods”

Dear FDA,

On behalf of our 42,000 members, I am writing to oppose the FDA's recent approval of irradiation for fresh spinach and lettuce. PCC Natural Markets is the largest consumer-owned retailer of natural foods in the United States with nine stores in the Puget Sound region of Washington State.

Our customers are concerned that irradiation compromises the quality and safety of food. Research shows that irradiation destroys vitamins and other nutrients and also can create dangerous chemical byproducts. Very few tests have been done to determine the long-term health consequences of eating radiated food, not to mention the effect on flavor, texture and overall quality.

Food irradiation also is expensive to implement and is a distraction for the unsanitary conditions of the industrialized food system. It does not address the systemic, root causes of contamination.

I urge you to repeal the approval of irradiation of fresh spinach and lettuce and instead enforce existing regulations that would ensure the safety of our food supply.

Sincerely,

Tracy Wolpert
Chief Executive Officer

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