Science in favor of zapped meat

archive_import /


A nuclear engineer and a biologist were at Sonora Elementary School's board meeting last night to dispel concerns about irradiated meat and poultry.

Schools across the nation must decide whether to serve irradiated meat in cafeterias after receiving a letter from the Department of Agriculture informing them the meat is available for purchase in January.

But Sonora Elementary trustees, despite last night's testimony, will research the subject and talk to more parents before adding irradiated meat to the cafeteria menu.

So far none of Tuolumne County's schools have made the move.

Advocates of irradiated meat say the process which involves exposing meat to gamma rays, electron beams and X-rays to kill bacteria and parasites decreases the risk of food-borne illness.

Others say the long-term effects of eating zapped meat is untested and the food should not be fed to children.

Although retired nuclear engineer Bill Whitling and retired biologist Don Morrison said irradiated meat is absolutely safe and that the process can eliminate contaminants and extend shelf life, parent Carmen Brush spoke against the process.

If Sonora Elementary alerted parents that irradiated meats were being served in the lunch line, Brush said, "I'm a parent who would choose not to send my children through the cafeteria that day."

The one phone call Ken Harbord, Sonora Elementary School District superintendent, received on the subject was from another parent.

" 'I don't know if it's healthy or not, all I know is, my kid's not going to eat it,' " the parent told Harbord.

Trustee Don Rolle, an advocate for irradiated food, said he suspected a lot of parents would feel like Brush and the caller, and that the cafeteria would lose money. Irradiated meat costs between 2 and 5 cents more per pound than the meat the school now uses.

"Basically, this comes down to an economic issue, not a health issue," Rolle said.

Before a minimal audience, Morrison and Whitling touted the safety benefits of irradiation.

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Saturday April 30, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
New $65M courthouse to open by end of 2019


State officials are working with architectural consultants on final designs for a ... more

Lake is full, marina is open


The temperature was in the high 20s Tuesday morning when Jacob Hartley, ... more

Increased pulse flows for fish begin on Stanislaus River


Agencies that control flows on the Stanislaus River below Tulloch and New ... more

Director resigns as infighting continues


Bryan Adcox has resigned from the Mother Lode Fair Board of Directors ... more

Rim Fire recovery plan released


Federal custodians of the Stanislaus National Forest are publishing a plan today ... more