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USDA Approves Irradiated Meat for Schools<br><br><br><br>
USDA Approves Irradiated Meat for National School Lunch Program<br><br><br><br>
Public Citizen Press Release<br><br>
May 29, 2003<br><br>
For Immediate Release:<br><br>
Patty Lovera (202 )454-5132<br><br>
Tony Corbo (202) 454-5131<br><br><br><br>
Approval of Irradiated Meat for National School Lunch Program Is Wrong<br><br>
Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Director of Public Citizen's Critical Mass<br><br>
Energy and Environment Program<br><br><br><br>
Despite thousands of comments to the federal government from parents,<br><br>
teachers and children nationwide opposing irradiated meat in the<br><br>
National School Lunch Program (91 percent of those commenting were<br><br>
against it), the government today ignored the will of its constituents<br><br>
and approved the use of irradiation for the federal nutrition program.<br><br>
By offering schools the option of purchasing irradiated meat for school<br><br>
lunches, which feed 27 million children each year, the U.S. Department<br><br>
of Agriculture (USDA) could become the largest distributor of irradiated<br><br>
food in the world.<br><br><br><br>
Beginning in January 2004, children who participate in the federal<br><br>
program will become guinea pigs in a government experiment that has<br><br>
neglected parental concerns and disregarded numerous studies that show<br><br>
the potentially harmful health effects of eating irradiated food. This<br><br>
horrendous decision benefits the meat industry at the expense of<br><br>
society's most vulnerable citizens - our children. Approving irradiated<br><br>
meat for school cafeterias nationwide means the USDA is willing to put<br><br>
our children's health at risk to help cover up the meat industry's<br><br>
sanitation failures. Prioritizing industry's influence over the safety<br><br>
of those it feeds is not just a bad decision - it is an error in moral<br><br>
Because federal law does not require labeling of irradiated food served<br><br>
in schools, restaurants, hospitals and similar venues, irradiated meat<br><br>
served in school cafeterias need not be labeled. This makes it<br><br>
impossible for parents to know what school cafeterias are feeding their<br><br>
children and is a blatant violation of parents' right to know.<br><br><br><br>
More importantly, the children most likely to eat food purchased<br><br>
through the school lunch program are from lower-income families who<br><br>
cannot afford to send their children to school with homemade lunches.<br><br>
These children must depend on food provided by government nutrition<br><br>
programs. If irradiated meat ends up on their lunch trays at schools,<br><br>
they don't have the option of refusing it.<br><br><br><br>
Irradiation is not an acceptable antidote for food safety problems.<br><br>
From strengthening government meat inspection to addressing the<br><br>
appalling disrepair in many school cafeterias, there is much that should<br><br>
be done to improve the safety of food served to our nation's children at<br><br>
school. But using the purchasing power of the federal government to<br><br>
bail out a struggling industry and serving this questionable product to<br><br>
children have no place in a sensible food safety plan.<br><br><br><br>
To read Public Citizen's comments to the USDA on irradiated food school<br><br><br><br>
lunch program, please go to<br><br><a href="" target="_blank"></a> To<br><br>
read a fact sheet on irradiation, please go to<br><br><a href="" target="_blank"></a><br><br><br><br>

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MOP, we try to discourage multiple postings of the same thing in different forums here. I will post a link to the article in the News Forum, but I am going to lock up this thread to keep responses contained in one forum. Thanks.<br><br><br><br>
If you wish to discuss this topic, please do so here:<br><br><a href="" target="_blank"></a>
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