American Friends Service Committee
Patrica Watson, Editor
Sara Burke, Assistant Editor
Pat Farren, Founding Editor
2161 Massachusetts Ave.
Peacework has been published monthly since 1972, intended to serve as a source of dependable information to those who strive for peace and justice and are committed to furthering the nonviolent social change necessary to achieve them. Rooted in Quaker values and informed by AFSC experience and initiatives, Peacework offers a forum for organizers, fostering coalition-building and teaching the methods and strategies that work in the global and local community. Peacework seeks to serve as an incubator for social transformation, introducing a younger generation to a deeper analysis of problems and issues, reminding and re-inspiring long-term activists, encouraging the generations to listen to each other, and creating space for the voices of the disenfranchised.
Views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily of the AFSC.
Oppose the Dismantling of International Food Irradiation Standards
On March 16, the Codex Committee on Food Additives and Contaminants (CCFAC), which advises the Codex Alimentarius ("Food Code") Commission, approved a proposal that would remove virtually every assurance that irradiated food will be of good quality, be handled by trained workers, or be processed under safe and clean conditions in government-inspected facilities.
The proposal is now about half-way through the steps required for final Codex approval. Codex sets food safety standards for over 160 countries, representing 97% of the world's population. It is operated by the World Health Organization and the United Nations. Codex standards are enforceable by the World Trade Organization.
The proposal would amend Codex's 22-year-old food irradiation standard by stating that food companies "should" rather than "shall" comply with the standards. Many of the changes were proposed without any advance notice and approved at meetings that were closed to the public.
CCFAC also endorsed removing Codex's current irradiation dose limit of 10 kiloGray, which is the equivalent of about 330 million chest X-rays. When food is exposed to such doses of ionizing radiation, the flavor, texture, odor, nutritional integrity, and chemical composition of food can be significantly corrupted. Very few of the new chemicals that are formed in irradiated food have been studied for toxicity. Most US foods are dosed with between 1 and 7.5 kiloGray.
The proposal will be debated by the full Codex Commission, which meets July 2-7 in Geneva.
US meat inspector chief, Thomas Billy, who is the chairman of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, has allowed your health and safety to be threatened. The shortcomings of the US meat inspection service should not be projected onto the world. Tell him you will not stand for this.
Contact Information: Mr. Tom Billy, Chairman, Codex Alimentarius
Commission, Department of Agriculture, 331-E Jamie Whitten Bldg.,
Washington, DC 20250-3700; 202/720-7025; email@example.com