The Instigator
ChristoperColumbus
Con (against)
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The Contender
spiderman2
Pro (for)
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Food Irradiation

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/11/2014 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 740 times Debate No: 52265
Debate Rounds (5)
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ChristoperColumbus

Con

Food Irradiation is the radiation of food in order to remove things found in it such as bacteria. Food Irradiation should not be allowed ,however, because it takes away valuable nutrients and vitamins form the food. According to Foodcomm.com.uk 25% of vitamin E, which according to naturemade.com is important to your overall health, is lost when food is irradiated and even more is lost during cooking. Also 5-10% of Vitamin C, which is vital to bone development, can also be lost. Along with vitamins C and E according to organicconsumers.com 5-80% of all vitamins can be lost. Due to the large loss of vitamins irradiated food is extremely less healthy then normal food.
spiderman2

Pro

Food irradiation is the use of radiation to sterilize meat, produce and many other crops. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) these foods are only exposed to controlled amounts of radiation and therefore there is no danger or loss of nutrition when the food is eaten. In fact, food irradiation is very beneficial to the food because it has saved many people from dying of disease or food borne illnesses. According to the US Center for Disease Control, in 1999 before food was largely irradiated, there were 325,000 hospitalizations, 5,000 deaths, and 76 million illnesses. All of these were the byproduct of food borne illness and disease. Food irradiation has been able to increase trade from other countries and has helped reduce the amount of global food spoilage (UN Food and Agriculture Organization). The loss of nutrients is unlikely because the same amount of radiation used to sterilize the food is similar to the amount used in medical x-rays . Also there are three main different types of radiation that can be used on the food. The first is the electron beam, which is similar to the tubes of a TV that accelerate the electrons, this type of radiation CAN be turned off and on due to the fact that it contains NO radioactive material.
Debate Round No. 1
ChristoperColumbus

Con

The foods are only exposed to controlled amounts of radiation, but it has been proven by many, even the FDA, that there is a loss of nutrients even from the slightest amount of radiation. Food irradiation also reduces food spoilage, but it does so by destroying many natural warning signs in the food. According to organicconsumers.org irradiation destroys the smells of the food and any mold that may grow, so it is impossible to tell when it actually is spoiled. Also EPA say that it "makes old food look fresh."
spiderman2

Pro

The food may lose nutrients from the radiation but there are three types of radiation that can be used. The one that I have already talked about, the electron beam, does not use any radiation at all. This type of radiation, according to the EPA, can also only penetrate shallowly into the produce being irradiated. This type of irradiation would 1. allow no nutrients to be lost due to radiation, and 2. keep the food from being old or put on display for too long. Also, would you rather take your chances with a terrible illness or would you rather have your food irradiated and avoid being in excessive unnecessary pain and possibly dying?
Debate Round No. 2
ChristoperColumbus

Con

No matter which of the three different types of food irradiation are used the radiation can lead to mutations. According to Livestrong.com and Foodomm.org the radiation can destroy some bacteria, but create more dangerous and resistant strands of bacteria commonly known as "Super-Bugs." These "Super-Bugs" become resistant to antibiotics and are a much bigger problem then the original bacteria that are destroyed through irradiation. Also according to physics.isu.edu the radiation an also create radiolytic products.
spiderman2

Pro

One question, why then, do they feed irradiated foods to hospital patients who are vulnerable to illness and disease? According to http://www.consumersinternational.org... this is exactly what happens, they feed these irradiated foods to these patients because of their susceptibility to these diseases that are easily carried by these other crops that have not been irradiated. Another point that would be that these radiolytic foods are not actually dangerous, here is a direct quote from Idaho State University " These substances, called "radio-lytic products", may sound mysterious, but they are not. They have been scrutinized by scientists in making safety assessments of irradiated foods. Any kind of treatment causes chemical changes in food. For instance, heat treatment, or cooking, produces chemicals that could be called "thermolytic products." Scientists find the changes in food created by irradiation minor to those created by cooking. The products created by cooking are so significant that consumers can smell and taste them, whereas only a chemist with extremely sensitive lab equipment may be able to detect radiolytic products. " Cooking the foods could be more of a problem than simply irradiating them.
Debate Round No. 3
ChristoperColumbus

Con

Irradiated food is fed to hospital patients because the radiation can destroy the specific bacteria that patient is vulnerable to, but in many cases the patients are fed normal food because the bacteria or illness they are vulnerable to is not even destroyed by the radiation. According to physics.isu.edu and uw.food-irradiation.engr.wisc.edu irradiated food is not completely sterilized as some bacteria are not destroyed. Not only does the radiation create "Super-Bugs," but it also doesn't even destroy all of the original bacteria. Why take away nutrients, destroy warning signs, and create mutations when only HALF the job is done? And that is only half of the bacteria, what about viruses? It has been proven by laleva.cc that irradiation is completely ineffective against viruses.
spiderman2

Pro

To answer your question "Why take away nutrients, destroy warning signs, and create mutations when only HALF the job is done?" The main reason that food is irradiated is to destroy as many illnesses as possible, of course it is not going to kill all of the bacteria/ viruses. This is like asking why do people use the flu shots when it just adds that disease to your body. The main reason that they do stuff like that is to add a resistance to the body. So this means that irradiating the food isn't all that bad but it could be considered good for your body too because even leaving some of these viruses and colds that are left in the food will just help your body build resistance and be able to stand more of these illnesses and you could become less prone to health problems. Also the irradiation kills off the worst disease and such and so the only illnesses that would really be left in the food are the ones that we are exposed to on a daily basis anyways.
Debate Round No. 4
ChristoperColumbus

Con

Food irradiation may destroy some bacteria but it is only a band-aid solution to the real problem. According to organicconsumers.org food irradiation only covers up many food problems, not fix them. It says, "that the best way to prevent food-borne illnesses and deaths is to clean up the dirty, unsafe, and inhumane conditions at factory farms and slaughterhouses that are ultimately responsible for large-scale contamination." organicconsumers.org also says that, "irradiated fruits and vegetables benefit the packer and grocer, not the farmer or consumer. The consumer receives an inferior product that appears fresh, but has depleted vitamins and enzymes." Foodandwaterwatch.org also reiterates what I have previously said and what organicconsumer.org has said by stating that, "recent studies have shown that irradiating food may promote cancer development, cause genetic damage, and deplete vitamins. Simply put, irradiating food is a
Band-Aid for the much larger problem of poor sanitation in slaughterhouses and processing plants, which causes food-borne illness."
spiderman2

Pro

I can easily agree with the statement that you make about how these factory farms are unhealthy and such but there are very few diseases that are carried by the irradiated foods. What is wrong with a farmer irradiating food? Irradiation causes less disease and there are very few pesticides and such that the farmer has to use due to irradiation. Also, this point that you make about how the consumer is not benefiting from the irradiated food, what about the lives that were saved by the irradiated food. At the beginning of my first argument I brought up exactly this, the amount of lives that would have been saved by the irradiation of the foods. If you don't remember, I stated this -there were 325,000 hospitalizations, 5,000 deaths, and 76 million illnesses, all caused by food borne illness. This is the sort of thing that food irradiation would be able to change is the amount of lives saved by having disease/ illness free food. No, ' I wonder if I will get sick from eating that?' Just, wow this tastes good and I know im not going to die from eating it. This is why food irradiation is important to understand, it can save lives, keep out disease from the produce, and its no worse for you than eating regularly cooked food from your oven or stove.
Debate Round No. 5
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