FDA Approves Irradiation for Spinach and Iceberg Lettuce

     As of August 22, 2008, spinach and iceberg lettuce may be treated with radiation to kill salmonella and E. coli.
     The FDA claims that irradiating the spinach and lettuce won't much affect the nutritional value of these greens, however it is known that it will cut down on the folate and vitamin A. The CDC would like people to know that they consider the practice to be safe and that you can't be exposed to radiation from it being done to the food you consume.

     Since 1986 some fruits and vegetables have been using radiation to protect them from molds and insects. This is a stronger level of radiation that will kill bacteria leading to food poisoning.

     Mind you that this will only affect spinach and lettuce that will be bagged and sealed in the process. Fresh bunches of spinach could still acquire bacteria even if has been irradiated because it would be exposed to air and elements without packaging.

     Along with the radiation will come higher costs for it. It's only expected to go up a few cents a pound, but those few cents can add up. Those growers that decide to use radiation will start small until they see that the public has accepted the practice and will purchase the produce. The packaging will let consumers know if the product has been irradiated or not.

     The problem will still remain however of how the bacteria is getting into the produce in the first place. Proper sanitation at the farm level would be the place to start rather than just irradiating some of the food after contamination.