There's a new plot underway to sterilize your food and destroy the nutritional value of fresh produce. The players in this plot are the usual suspects: The USDA (which backed the "raw" almond sterilization rules now in effect in California) and the American Chemical Society -- a pro-chemical group that represents the interests of industrial chemical manufacturers. The latest push comes from USDA researchers who conducted a study to see which method more effectively killed bacteria on leafy green vegetables like spinach.
To conduct the study, they bathed the spinach in a solution contaminated with bacteria. Then, they tried to remove the bacteria using three methods: Washing, chemical spraying and irradiation. Not surprisingly, only the irradiation killed nearly 100 percent of the bacterial colonies. That's because radiation sterilizes both the bacteria and the vegetable leaves, effectively killing the plant and destroying much of its nutritional value while it kills the bacteria.
The USDA claims this is a huge success. By using radiation on all fresh produce, they claim, the number of food-borne illness outbreaks that happen each year could be substantially reduced. It all makes sense until you realize that by destroying the nutritional value of all fresh produce sold in the United States, an irradiation policy would greatly increase the number of people killed by infections and chronic diseases that are prevented by the natural medicines found in fresh produce!