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In the Jan. 10 article on irradiated food, irradiation advocate Michael Osterholm charges that critics of the technology are a "major reason that people are still dying in this country from food-borne disease." Calls for irradiating E. coli from feces-contaminated produce and meat really distract us from what should be the more basic question: Why do we have feces-contaminated meat and produce in the first place?

A few weeks ago, a Star Tribune editorial laid out numerous weaknesses of the U.S. food-safety inspection system. Why irradiate our food when we should instead focus on strengthening meat and poultry inspection systems, encouraging food production that manages manure responsibly and holding food companies accountable for providing food for consumers that's feces-free in the first place?

Ben Lilliston, Policy Analyst, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis

This comment to an editorial appeared in the Star Tribune


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