Monday, May 23, 2011

Irradiated Food - What's the Fuss?

Following the situation in Japan I have run across a few cultural curiosities. Japanese culture is steeped in tradition, but it ain't my tradition so I find somethings odd as all hell. I love Japanese food, but some things I do not even think of trying. Natto is one. It is fermented soya beans. It smells like toe jam. I love blue cheese. It doesn't smell much better to the average Japanese. So I guess that is a draw.

Raw beef?. Hey, I happen to like some beef raw, but I make it myself just to make sure I don't get sick. The Japanese are pretty partial to raw beef also. A few people died in Japan recently due to bad raw beef in a restaurant. It is a price too high to pay for good eats.

Today is much different than when I was a kid. We had real neighborhood butchers and locally raised meats and vegetables. You hardly ever heard of someone getting food poisoning. Today with everything mass processed and brought in from who knows where, all too often something is in the news about food contamination. It is a problem that doesn't need to be a problem.

Irradiated foods, foods treated with ionizing radiation, have very little chance of causing most common food poisonings. The radiation treatment prolongs shelf life, keeps natural food coloring and best of all, allow you to safely have hamburgers medium rare without having to grind the beef yourself. Only one problem. I can't get it because people would rather die than eat something they think may be bad for them.

There are a lot of very smart sounding people that claim irradiated foods are a cop out. That they have a better way, grass feed, free range, organic... Other than grow it yourself, as in me (I don't trust a lot of people that think they know how to farm) there is not much you can do, other than irradiation.

Organic is great. I steal stuff from my neighbors organic garden all the time. Personally, I know that used properly, there are excellent fertilizers and even pesticides (gasp) that help grow perfectly healthy foods. The rub is only certain things grow at certain times of the year. Also, I found out that my neighbors were not all that thrilled with me free ranging my chickens. I even had brown eggs beat, my hens laid pastel green eggs. The fresh eggs were great though and chickens will keep a yard nearly bug free. Little piles of yet to be composted chicken matter was a little problematic.

My good ol' days have past. Now I have to deal with someone else's good ol' days which unfortunately includes Salmonella, E. Coli and soon to be named other weird nasty junk. Why not cut me a little slack and at least read about irradiated foods written by someone that actually knows about irradiated foods? If you are capable of being open minded, you might find the objections humorous.

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