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Orwell's Frankenfoods Are New Normal

Politics / Food Crisis Nov 29, 2013 - 01:22 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop



The history of “recycled” nuclear wastes as military DU munitions is relatively well known and dates to the early 1970s. NATO analysts had reported that the Soviet military had developed armor plating for tanks that NATO ammunition could not penetrate. The quest to develop high-penetration anti-tank munitions quickly focused very dense (higher than lead) uranium wastes from “civil” nuclear power, that are also pyrotechnic or quickly inflammable and explosive on impact, and are easily machined into complex nose cones and sheaths for shells and projectiles. Since that time, DU munitions have grown to be held and used by nearly all major armed forces of the planet. Military analysts identify about 78 nations presently possessing DU munitions, that now cover a huge range of ordnance types and sizes, including anti-building, anti-aircraft and anti-personnel weapons.

Less well known but certainly a larger threat, the use of sometimes highly irradiated, as well as deadly toxic nuclear wastes in the world food industry has massively grown since the 1990s. The reasons why so little public information on irradiated Frankenfoods is new normal are easy to guess, and result in no labeling requirement in most countries and no in-store labeling of which foods on sale are irradiated and which are not. Food products labeled 'organic' or 'bio” can easily contain irradiated ingredients, or shelf products labeled 'organic' can be treated by radiation by wholesalers or major supermarket chains before being placed on sale.ff

The US FDA and other national food and drugs administrations sideline and in some cases deny any major risk to public health from systematic use of very high radiation doses in food. A typicalstatement published by the US FDA is: “Despite its limited use in the past, use of food irradiation is increasing as consumers are beginning to appreciate the benefits of irradiated food”.

The US FDA however provides a short list of some regular food industry uses of high radiation doses

The doses indicated are in kiloGrays (thousand Gray). In this short non-exclusive listing of irradiated foods, the mostly-gamma radiation used starts at 1 kiloGray which is equivalent to over 30 million average chest x-ray doses or 2,000 times the LD50 (lethal dose for 50% of persons exposed) human lethal dose. As the list above shows, doses can attain the fantastic level of 30 kiloGray (60,000 times the LD50 human lethal dose). These foods are being "nuked" for our supposed protection. 


As Sayer Ji  ( and other activists note, this “George Orwell supper” can easily include certified-organic food products. Buyers of these “green” foods undertake to pay higher prices, often about 30% more than conventional food products because they hope or believe that even if the organic food they buy does not have an especially higher vitamin, mineral and phyto-nutrient content, it will not have suffered intense further processing on its journey to the table. This in major part explains why buying organic has grown in many countries and attracts the educated consumer.

Unfortunately almost all the developed world's food and public health authorities and regulatory agencies support and actively promote food irradiation. The US FDA actively supports and promotes the use of Cobalt-60 directly obtained from civil nuclear power plants, for so-called "electronic pasteurization", extended shelf lives, uniformized food product appearance and the capability to not use chemical food additives, which will require labeling and will cause educated higher-income shoppers to avoid the food products so treated.

Several administrations further promote nuclear irradiation of foods on a systematic basis by creating a false dichotomy between "food additive" products and treatments, and "pasteurization" to describe intense irradiation producing entirely lifeless and slightly radioactive, as well as toxic foodstuffs. This Orwellian logic is dominant in all developed nations and WTO (World Trade Organization) regulations relating to food products impose no additional radiation checks on food trade except in highly specific “emergency contexts” such as Japanese food exports following the Fukushima disaster.


Completely absent from all regulatory agency information on food irradiation or “pasteurisation”, but well known to food scientists, radiation biologists and microbiologists, food irradiation destroys much of the nutritional quality of food. Microrganisms, for example, avoid eating even very slightly irradiated foods and nutrients. Irradiation produces a large range of toxic and carcinogenic byproducts. These include benzene, formaldehyde, formic acid, and a series of complex organic chemicals such as the alklycyclobutanoes. All of these side product chemicals are damaging to human health.

Much more insidious in its economic, social and environmental impacts, systematic use of intensely radioactive materials in “farming”, food processing, and final sale, enables and encourages “trash farming”. Fundamentally unsafe farming practices are enabled. Multiple examples exist, starting with the systematic use in “trash farming” of urban and industrial mixed sewage effluent as a nutrient, made “safe” by intense irradiation. Sewage from intensive animal rearing, which is contaminated by the very high levels of antibiotics used in this “Belsen farming”, are quickly irradiated using massive doses of radiation from nuclear power plant wastes, avoiding other more-expensive treatment and separation of toxic materials, chemicals and biochemicals in the sewage. The widespread and systematic use of these low-cost “fertilizers and nutrients”, in crop farming and market gardening production of salads and greens directly results in the growth of virulent new strains of antibiotic resistant bacteria. In turn, their existence is used as the reason for further or more intense radiation treatment of farming wastes.

Irradiated food products are now the preferred choice by global supermarket operators due to their long shelf life and uniform appearance. This directly enables the growth of food system globalization, from upstream production to downstream distribution. The transnationals operating in this domain have huge political leverage for the pursuit of their strategy to reduce or eliminate the national sovereignty of producer countries, and the constitutional rights and public health of consumers.


The nuclear power and uranium mining industry, at all times linked with the industrial-military complex, is obliged to operate a permanent publicity and propaganda blitz to the effect that nuclear energy is totally unrelated to nuclear weapons, uranium and other radioactive materials are harmless, nuclear wastes are easily managed – and the complete reverse of ecological disaster, can bring nicely packaged uniform and pasteurized long life food products to our dining table. Nuclear wastes can therefore become "beneficial", and with no need to talk about the DU weapons industry, another large consumer of nuclear wastes. Nuclear waste is transformed. It can even be called a “food therapeutic” agent with a distinct market value for the food industry.

Upstream research in the nuclear-related industry to develop new and additional uses for nuclear waste focusing the food industry now include the large scale production of radiation-modified viruses and bacteria for crop spraying. One major goal is to produce long life semi-dormant, bacteria-specific viruses which can spring into action whenever the target bacteria proliferate.

This outright genetic modification, upstream, is however excluded by administrations with a highly publicized offical goal of reducing (if not eliminating) GM foods, notably the European EFSA food safety authority and the related EU law on food safety 1169/2011. Recent European-US trade disputes relating to GM rice produced in the US (and called “basmati rice”) did not concern its name, but the genetic modification of this rice. At the same time, irradiated rice is imported to Europe and sold on a daily basis. According to several environmental NGOs and food experts, spontaneous genetic modification due to irradiated shipping, storage, packaging and distribution networks for foods such as rice are now unavoidable, making EU-US trade disputes on this subject a charade.

Food quality and nuclear wastes are an oxymoron. State sponsored promotion of food irradiation can rightly be considered the largest food experiment ever performed in all recorded history. Downstream, in the supermarket or local store, it is completely impossible for the final consumer to know what radiation treatment or treatments have been utilized on their purchased food, marked “organic” or not.

This is a minefield of potential and real health risks, and one day we can hope, liabilities for the corporations and companies which have produced Orwell's Last Supper.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2013 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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