Growing and Using Moringa, Comfrey, and Healing Herbs

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Are your Moringa Leaves Gamma Irradiated?

The symbol on packaging for irradiated food products. This symbol may or may not be on the label depending  on the origin of the food. 


The answer to this question, is much of Indian Moringa is gamma irradiated.  You must call or write the company to know for sure on this question.  If the company who sold you your Moringa leaf powder does not state that his product is not gamma irradiated, it probably is. 


That is why Moringa Delight products state on the description of their products, they are NOT gamma irradiated. They are checked by a FDA lab for mold, bacteria, E-coli, and other contamination such as insect or mouse parts.  


But what does gamma irradiated really mean? Here are some answers:

 

Does it take out the mouse parts and insect parts from the leaf material?


It does not take the insect or mouse parts out of the product. It does not take the dirt out of the product or weeds mixed in with the product. It does not mean your product is pure grade leaf.  It does nothing to clean the product.

How are gamma irradiated goods treated?


What is irradiation?


Irradiation is the process of treating food and other consumer products with gamma rays, x-rays, or high voltage electrons to kill potential harmful bacteria and parasites, delay sprouting, and increase shelf life. 


Irradiation is also referred to ass "ionizing radiation" because it produces energy waves strong enough to dislodge electrons from atoms and molecules, thereby converting them to electrically charged particles called ions.  Ionizing radiation reduces the number of disease causing organisms in foods by disrupting their molecular structure and killing them.  It is also called "cold pasteurization" and "irradiation pasteurization".


Food irradiation is permitted in more than 40 countries. In the US, it is approved for beef, pork, poultry, shell eggs, fruits, vegetables, wheat, wheat flour, seeds for sprouting, herbs and spices.



The Effects of Gamma Irradiation on Food:
  • Dr. Mercola states, "Irradiation masks and encourages filthy conditions in slaughterhouses and food processing plants. Irradiation can kill most bacteria in food, but it does nothing to remove the feces, urine, pus and vomit that often contaminate beef, pork, chicken and other meat. Irradiation will not kill the pathogen that causes mad cow disease." 

  • It kills  E. Coli 0157:H7, Bacillus cereus, lostridium botulinum, Listeria monocytogenes, salmonella, staphylococcus aureus, Campylobacter jujuni, Cyclospora, and Toxoplasma gondii. 
  • Irradiation can kill or substantially reduce the number of potentially dangerous organisms in foods.  Estimates range for 90 to 99.9%.
  • The bacterium that causes botulism is no killed by irradiation, but its natural enemies are. Food may be contaminated without any warning smell. This can be a big problem for meat that is irradiated in a sealed package. 
  • Irradiation can kill insects and pests infesting foods such as grains and flours without leaving chemical residues.
  • Irradiation delays ripening and sprouting so food can be stored longer.
The Dark Side of Gamma Irradiation: 

  • Irradiation at recommended doses will not eradicate all pathogens. The remaining organisms are by definition "radiation resistant" and may create super strains of hard-to-kill pathogens.
  • Irradiation at current allowable levels is ineffective against viruses such as the Norwalk virus found in seafood.
  • Irradiation can only be used on a limited number of foods.  Fresh produce such as lettuce, grapes, tomatoes, and cucumbers turn mushy and unpalatable.  Thus, the risk from contaminated fresh produce, a major carrier of food borne disease, cannot be fully addressed by irradiation.
  • Critics  contend that not enough is known about the potential health effects of radiolytic products, particularly about radiolytic products formed from pesticide residues on foods.
  • Studies used to approve irradiation in food have been criticized as flawed.   Even the FDA acknowledges that the studies are inadequate when reviewed singly.  
  • Critics  contend that not enough is known about the potential health effects of radiolytic products, particularly about radiolytic products formed from pesticide residues on foods.

Nutrient Loss   
  • Irradiation destroys vitamins, essential fatty acids and other nutrients in food -- sometimes significantly. The process destroys 80 percent of vitamin A in eggs.
  • Some vitamins, like A, C, E, K and some B complex vitamins, are damaged. From 5% up to 80%, depending on how long the food is stored. Some of these vitamins are natural anti-oxidants: that is, they destroy dangerous free radicals in the body. Irradiation both  a) increases the amount of free radicals in a food, and b) damages the vitamins necessary to neutralize the free radicals! 
  • Some develop off-flavors, or mushy textures, or become more susceptible to molds and fungus. When potatoes sprout, they develop a green color, which indicates the presence of the poisonous chemical solanine. When irradiated potatoes sprout, they do not turn green even when solanine is present.
How do you know if your food has been irradiated?



Consumers will have to carefully scrutinize food labels if they wish to avoid irradiated products.   Until recently, the FDA required labels on products containing irradiated ingredients representing more than 90% of the total product.  These labels were to prominently display the radiation symbol (called the "radura") accompanied by the words "treated by irradiation," or "treated with radiation".


Now, the US Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997 (FDAMA) has drastically impaired consumer's ability to identify irradiation foods on store shelves.   The FDAMA Sec 306, effectively caused FDA to amend its labeling requirements so that the required irradiation disclosure statement on food packaging no longer need be any more prominent than the declaration of ingredients.


Safety of Irradiated Foods?


We don't know. There have been no long-term human studies, and almost no studies on children. The FDA based its approval of irradiation to treat meat products on only 5 animal studies of 441 studies submitted, and these 5 either showed health effects or had obvious scientific flaws. In fact, animal studies have shown many health effects, such as tumors, kidney failure, death of offspring and miscarriages. Irradiation for fruits and vegetables was based on a theoretical calculation of the danger of the new chemicals that were created, not on animal studies


Dr. Mercola states, "Research dating to the 1950s has revealed a wide range of problems in animals that ate irradiated food, including premature death, a rare form of cancer, reproductive dysfunction, chromosomal abnormalities, liver damage, low weight gain and vitamin deficiencies." 


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