Food irradiation videos highlight, uh, creativity?

 Whether you’re Lou Dobbs with your own cable show or Norman B- and his Deviations from the Norm, you too can have your own opinions about food irradiation.

I have mine, and want individuals to have choice at the checkout counter.

“Food irradiation of fresh produce is an additional tool that can help reduce the threat of foodborne illness — but it is not a magic bullet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has published a final rule allowing the irradiation of fresh iceberg lettuce and fresh spinach, available at:

"Farmers still need to practice good agricultural practices, and the possibility of post-processing contamination still exists, Powell said, but added that irradiation is safe and should be made available at the retail level.

"There’s a lot of people already speaking on behalf of consumers and what they may or may not do," Powell said. "When it comes to food, consumers vote with their wallets at checkout, not on public opinion surveys. I’d really like to see someone step up and offer consumers the choice. There have been enough serious outbreaks of foodborne illness in fresh produce that the interest in irradiated spinach and lettuce should be strong."

But check out these videos.

Asking questions about fresh produce

For the past 10 years, when someone asks me, what can I do avoid Salmonella in tomatoes, or E. coli in spinach, especially if you – Powell – tell me I can’t wash it off, what am I supposed to do?

I would sheepishly say, ask questions. Big grocers; local markets; they should be able to explain what they do to reduce microbial risks.

But it’s not so easy. I’ve asked questions for years, and only rarely have received adequate responses. Most are of the it’s-local-it’s-safe or trust-me genre of food pornography, and, like most pornography, it’s fun to watch for awhile but gets really boring.

Chris, a student who works with me at Kansas State, went to the student union the other day and ordered a bean and cheese burrito.

“They slapped some pico de gallo on there for me. The previous day they had a sign that said they weren’t serving due to Salmonella tomatoes.

“I took it back and asked what made them start serving fresh tomatoes again. Not one of the 4 employees spoke English. All they would say is ‘yes, tomatoes.’”

Buying any sort of fresh produce is an act of faith. I say, cut the BS and start deliberately marketing food safety. That way, someone has to back it up; not some dance with an auditor or certifier, or some other third party that has nothing to do with credibility and everything to do with providing distance when the shit hits the fan – or the produce.

Otherwise, more hucksterism, and more of CNN’s Lou Dobbs.