South Gippsland is home to one of Australia’s food irradiation plants. In Australia all irradiation plants use cobalt-60, a nuclear material that emits gamma rays. Herbal teas, spices and some tropical fruits are permitted for irradiation in Australia.
Irradiation changes food in ways that have not been adequately tested for safety. Irradiation depletes food and vitamins and causes the formation of radiolytic products whose effect on human health is not known.
In 2009 the irradiation of cat food was banned in Australia after nearly one hundred cats became ill and many died. This has prompted many pet food companies to review their policies regarding irradiation, recognising pet health concerns. The Australian government has yet to recognise that similar risks exist for human health.
Under Australian law, pet food, animal feed, therapeutic goods and complementary medicines are not classified as “food”. These products can, therefore be irradiated with no labelling requirements. Many of these products are packaged and sold in a similar manner and on the same retailer shelves as products that are classified as “food”. Consumers have no way to discern that the products fall under different regulatory bodies and therefore have differing labelling requirements.
More information: http://foodirradiationwatch.org
Below – short video about the problems with irradiation:
[This webpage last updated March 2012]