Really, consumers can decide about irradiation

In between listeria interviews yesterday I spoke with Julie Schmit of USA Today about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approved of irradiation on spinach and lettuce to kill dangerous bacteria.

The steady pace of food-safety scares — and growing consumer awareness of food-safety risks — will improve consumer acceptance of irradiated greens, says Doug Powell of the International Food Safety Network at Kansas State University

."There’s been enough outbreaks … that the consumer demand should be there.”

 Craig Wilson, food-safety chief for Costco, said that while a handful of companies have succeeded in selling irradiated ground beef since it hit the market in 2000, the idea has largely flopped.

 "Mom wouldn’t buy it.”

 But I bet there are lots of moms, and dads, who want to increase their consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables without having their kids end up on the kidney transplant list. As I said before, irradiation is an additional tool that can enhance the safety of the food supply. But don’t let the technology be derailed by activists on the InterWebs. Let consumers decide.