Labeling of milk from BST-treated cows is another hotly contested issue. Those who think it shouldn’t be labeled point to FDA claims that there is no difference in milk from BST and non-BST treated cows. Retailers may label milk products as coming from cows that were not treated with BST, but since there is no difference between BST milk and non-BST milk, and since all milk has some BST, FDA has ruled that labeling milk BST-free would be false labeling. Those who believe milk from BST-treated cows poses a risk want labeling so they can avoid feeding milk from BST-treated cows to their families.
Anderson, Luke. 1999. Genetic Engineering, Food, and Our Environment. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green.
Etherton, Terry D. 1994. The Efficacy, Safety and Benefits of Bovine Somatotropin and Porcine Somatotropin. New York: American Council on Science and Health. http://www.acsh.org/publications/booklets/somatotropin.html.
Institute of Food Science and Technology. 1999. Position Statement: Bovine Somatotropin(BST). London: Institute of Food Science and Technology. http://www.ifst.org/hottop8a.htm.
Vogt, Donna U., and Mickey Parish. June 2, 1999. Food Biotechnology in the United States:Science, Regulation, and Issues. Report no. RL30198. Washington: Congressional Research Service.
Food irradiation is not a new technology. Research began in earnest with President Eisenhower’s “Atoms-for-Peace” policy after World War II. Much of the early research was carried out by the U.S. Army and the Atomic Energy Commission. The first commercial use of food irradiation occurred in 1963, when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its use to control insects in wheat and flour. Large-scale implementation of food irradiation in the United States has been slow due to concerns about its safety. Realization that pathogens are the major concern in food safety has reignited interest in food irradiation.
Food irradiation is a method of controlling insect pests and pathogenic or spoilage bacteria in food and agricultural commodities. Instead of using heat or chemicals for processing, irradiation uses gamma energy, electron beams, or X-rays. Sometimes it is referred to as cold pasteurization. Similar technology is used to sterilize medical equipment and devices so they can be used in surgery and implanted without risk of infection.
Food irradiation has different uses depending on the strength of radiation used. It can be used to control mold, inhibit sprouting in vegetables, control insect pests, reduce bacterial pathogens, or, at the strongest dose, sterilize food. At low doses irradiation is an alternative to fumigation with chemicals to eliminate insects. Low doses have been used to inhibit the growth of mold in strawberries and to inhibit sprouting in potatoes, thereby prolonging the shelf life of these products. From 1995 to 1999