There is a move afoot in the FDA to nuke our dietary supplements.
All in the name of food safety, of course. The American Association for
Health Freedom offers this take on the issue. Use the link to their
site for more information and sample letters.
The American Association for Health Freedom opposes the irradiation of dietary supplements and supports the American Herbal Products Association letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to request that the agency deny a food additive petition that would allow the use of ionizing irradiation on dietary supplements and dietary ingredients. AAHF will be submitting our own letter to the FDA supporting AHPAâs position and providing our own comments.
We feel that if there was ever an approach that could, in a single swoop, lessen the potency of herbs and other dietary supplements, then it is irradiation.
There is good evidence now that almost any dosage of ionizing radiation does some damage (if it can kill pathogens, it can damage other cells and molecules), and any dosage above 10kGy is considered very high. 30 kGy is just plain crazy! Vitamins are much more prone to break down when not present in a food matrix, as is typically the case in dietary supplements. In other words, consumers could seriously be misled if the stated label content is different from the actual content which has been reduced as a result of irradiation.
There are other risks as well: the formation of radiolytic products which can be harmful and the increased risk of migration of components in packaging materials (e.g. plasticizers like bisphenol-A) into the food or dietary supplement product.
Irradiation of bioactive compounds in these nutritional supplements is well known to change those molecules and destroy them, thus changing the unique structure that makes these compounds effective nutrients.
Bottom line, if something is irradiated, it should not be permitted at the levels that have been suggested to the FDA and it should be clearly indicated on the label by ingredient.
What You Can Do
Contact Congress (using letter below, please take a moment to personalize it, we list some talking points that you can cut and paste) with a copy going to the FDA.
Help to spread the word.
Yes, we know that there is no radioactivity left in the molecules or food irradiated. That is not the issue. The issue is the change that takes place in those molecules.
If you were a member of the legislature then, do you remember what it was like to get mail at the US Capitol before the Anthrax attacks after 9/11 in 2001? Because of those attacks, all of Capitol mail started getting irradiated. Perhaps you remember getting the VCR tapes, the DVDs and the burned plastic covers, all crinkled by the radiation? Do you remember how brittle the paper was, how dusty, and how many of the staff reported getting sick from the paper dust? The very structure of the paper was changed. That is what the proposed gamma radiation sterilization process proposed would do to our dietary supplements. Those molecules in those supplements are much more fragile than paper! When extracted from food, extreme care is taken by most manufacturers to protect these molecules from further destabilization, even from things like light!
In fact the FDA just earlier this year finally approved the GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) rules for dietary supplements, which the industry has been waiting for since DSHEA (Dietary Supplements Health Education Action) passed in 1994. The industry is dealing processes to make sure that harmful biological agents and toxins are not accidently introduced into the manufacturing process. In the case of irradiation, though it would kill anthrax spores, it would not neutralize things like mold toxins. Therefore this process is not only harmful to the complex dietary supplements molecules, but ineffective at doing what the commercial irradiation petitioner proposed.