'Irradiated' food to get PR facelift

WASHINGTON: The term 'irradiation' will soon get a PR facelift intended to enhance consumer acceptance of foods subjected to a special purification process.

WASHINGTON: The term 'irradiation' will soon get a PR facelift intended to enhance consumer acceptance of foods subjected to a special purification process.

WASHINGTON: The term 'irradiation' will soon get a PR facelift intended to enhance consumer acceptance of foods subjected to a special purification process.

But efforts to replace the scientific term are sure to run into opposition from consumer and natural food groups concerned about misleading the public.

Congress passed a measure this year instructing the Food and Drug Administration to come up with other terms to describe the process of irradiation, which uses electrons, gamma rays or X-rays to kill bacteria in foods. The FDA has until early 2002 to suggest alternate names.

Consumers have been slow to embrace irradiated meats, having inferred that radiation is somehow involved in their preparation. In turn, retailers have been reluctant to stock them thinking they may be left unsold.

Gene Grabowski, communications VP for the Grocery Manufacturers of America, favors creating a new term. He suggested using 'cold pasteurization,' which, he said, has received positive consumer response in surveys.

Bob Scowcroft, executive director of the Organic Farming Research Foundation, disagrees: 'No PR effort is going to hide the fact that we're using weapons waste to process our foods.'



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