Ahead of the Environment Committee vote in the European Parliament on 4-5 November, a group of NGOs published a report, explaining that the World Health Organisation has ignored evidence doubting the safety of irradiated food for human consumption.
In line with the recommendations of the Breyer-report (EURACTIV, 10 September 2002), the NGO representatives feel that
- The World Health Organisation (WHO) has abandoned its original research agenda approved in 1961, on the basis of which wide range of experiments should have been conducted to assess the safety of irradiated foods;
- The results of the EU-funded research, currently under way, that may or may not prove that irradiation promotes the development of certain cancer-causing chemicals in the human body, should be considered before making a decision to add foodstuffs to the irradiation list;
- The Scientific Committee for Food (European Commission) has been giving low priority to food irradiation;
- More surveys, like the one carried out by the UK Food Standards Agency, should be conducted. This UK government survey found that a high percentage of foodstuffs, including dietary supplements, shrimps as well as herbs and spices were illegally irradiated;
- Due to the lack of monitoring in most European countries, enforcement of the irradiation legislation is missing;
- Irradiation is considered by some as a substitute for food hygiene.