Japan Offspring Fund(JOF) is a consumer group and environmental NGO established in 1984. We have researched issues involving the safety of daily life, including chemical residues, endocrine disruptors, and genetically engineered food.

Main Menu
About Us
for 4500 members monthly
Postharvest pesticides etc..
Dioxins, Endocrine Disruptors etc..
Endocrine Disruptors
Genetically Engineered/Modified Food
Codex Alimentarius Commission
Food Irradiation, Antibiotics, BSE, Containers, and Other Food Safety Issues
Post-harvest Pesticides, Organic Agriculture
Housing Environment, Electromagnetic Fields
International Project

Food Irradiation


Food Irradiation
The Japan Offspring Fund recently sent comments to the United States Department of Agriculture opposing a plan to allow fruits and vegetables to be treated with radiation and to allow the import of irradiated fruits and vegetables. It sent similar comments to the United States Food and Drug Administration opposing the use of the word "fresh" with regard to foods treated with irradiation. JOF believes that food should not be irradiated until or unless research proves that there are no health risks for consumers.

There are suspicions that irradiation depletes essential vitamins and nutrients and that it creates potentially dangerous chemicals in the treated foods. Reviews of the early approval processes have noted the limited and faulty research on the potential health impacts of irradiation of foodstuffs. These criticisms have not been adequately addressed--consumers cannot feel safe based on the data currently available.

Producers want to irradiate foods because they believe that it will lengthen the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, and make food safer by getting rid of pests and germs. There exist many other ways to ensure the safety of foods without using risky, uncertain procedures like irradiation. And irradiation risks health by destroying the bacteria that signal spoilage through changes in odor and color. Thus the added profit to producers is outweighed by the additional risks incurred to consumers because of the potential to consume spoiled food unknowingly.

In addition to the previous concerns with regard to the safety of irradiated foods for consumers, allowing the importation into the United States of irradiated fruits and vegetables encourages the proliferation of potentially dangerous irradiation facilities in the US and in other countries. Radiation leaks and accidents might well increase as such facilities proliferate, endangering workers and nearby communities.

Internationally, concerns about the safety and nutritional value of irradiated foods have been increasing. At a recent Codex Alimentarius committee meeting (Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants meeting March 20-24, 2000 in Beijing, China) the German government expressed reservations about assertions by some that there are no questions about the safety and nutritional value of irradiated foods. At the same meeting, the European Union opposed changing the limits on the amount of irradiation that can be used. The Japanese government does not allow the import of irradiated foodstuffs except in the case of potatoes on which the amount of irradiation allowed to be used has recently been cut back. As questions about the safety and nutritional values of irradiated food grow around the world, it is premature for the United States to allow further use of these processes without a greater understanding of their potential impacts.

Adequate research on the long-term health consequences of eating irradiated fruits and vegetables has yet to be done. As long as there are other means to protect us from bugs and germs, we should not use potentially dangerous radiation on our food.



Copyright(C) 2004 Japan Offspring Fund, All Rights Reserved.
Tel:048-851-1212 Fax:048-851-1214 Mail:
Please give me the subject name in Japanese.