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View Full Version : Food Irradiation E.Coli


RedfishHunter
12-08-2006, 09:24 PM
Can foods such as Spinach,green onions,etc... Be Irradiated or is there to much water in a plant food.If so why isn't it being done? :smack:

Exapno Mapcase
12-08-2006, 10:15 PM
Mostly because people are far more afraid of radiation than they are of e. coli. It doesn't have to be rational; it just is.

Antigen
12-08-2006, 10:31 PM
Heck, blood can be irradiated before transfusion. And AFAIK UV radiation is sometimes used in water purification procedures. So the water content isn't the issue. It's people's irrational and ignorant fear or the word "irradiated".

Shagnasty
12-08-2006, 10:46 PM
People have an irrational fear of e. coli as well. I had a microbiology professor once that used to work in a meat grinding plant making hamburger and other things. He asks us to guess what percentage of the samples he took tested positive for e. coli. The highest guess was about 20% and he responded that we were all wrong. 100% of the samples in a meat grinding plant test positive for e. coli. There is no way to prevent cross-contamination within the machines themselves but that isn't really important. It is the levels of e. coli that they are concerned with.

Even if your food was irradiated to kill e. coli, you still probably have it on your toothbrush and certainly on your own hands every time you open the door to a public restroom.

Squink
12-08-2006, 10:52 PM
EPA on Food Irradiation (http://www.epa.gov/radiation/sources/food_safety.htm) changes in structure of certain foods too fragile to withstand the irradiation, for example, lettuce and other leafy vegetables turn mushy
Wikipedia concurs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Food_irradiation) The dose for radicidation ranges from 2.5 - 5.0 kGy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilogray) . At this level some physical and chemical changes may be detected, depending on the type of food. For example, leafy vegetables such as lettuce are more sensitive to irradiation than foods with a tougher consistency.
Friends of the Earth* on Irradiated onions: (http://www.rag.org.au/modifiedfoods/irradiated%20vegetables.htm) Onions were irradiated to prevent sprouting. It was found that, depending on the variety, inhibition of sprouting went hand in hand with increased rotting during storage. What seems to happen is that the dying the growing tip where sprouting normally starts, becomes an entry point for microorganisms


*Yeah, it's a funny source for this sort of stuff, but it corresponds roughly with what I learned back in plant pathology 300.

dropzone
12-09-2006, 12:41 AM
People have an irrational fear of e. coli as well.Hell, yeah! Whenever I hear of someone sickened or killed by it I assume it's some germaphobe without pets. Cats walk on your face after using the litter box and dogs love to sneak a French kiss with the same tongues they lick themselves with and they consider e. Coli a food group. By now I could probably eat a cup of it with no ill effects.

lazybratsche
12-09-2006, 12:56 AM
Cats walk on your face after using the litter box and dogs love to sneak a French kiss with the same tongues they lick themselves with and they consider e. Coli a food group. By now I could probably eat a cup of it with no ill effects.

Heh. I did some work in an e. coli lab, and while growing whole liters of culture at a time, I wondered if any bored/stir crazy grad student had ever done such a thing on a dare (perhaps after sampling the lab's ethanol stock?). We're always reassured that the stuff is totally harmless, especially with the domesticated lab strains.

It's really just a few nasty strains of e. coli that people should worry about. Of course, limiting exposure to all e. coli also reduces the risk of catching one of these strains, which is why that's a good idea.

dropzone
12-09-2006, 12:59 AM
Of course, limiting exposure to all e. coli also reduces the risk of catching one of these strains, which is why that's a good idea.Babies. ;)

Canadjun
12-09-2006, 07:48 AM
Hell, yeah! Whenever I hear of someone sickened or killed by it I assume it's some germaphobe without pets. Cats walk on your face after using the litter box and dogs love to sneak a French kiss with the same tongues they lick themselves with and they consider e. Coli a food group. By now I could probably eat a cup of it with no ill effects.
No, it's someone that picked up one the the nastier varieties of e. coli, like e.coli O151:H1 (I think those are the right numbers and letters; don't know if there's any other nasty varieties). As others have suggested, everyone has e. coli; it's part of the bacterial population in your gut.

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