Food may be irradiated twice further exacerbating these effects. For example, potatoes may be irradiated to prevent sprouting and thus prolong storage life, and then used in a prepared meal which is irradiated after packaging.
Irradiation does reduce high levels of pathogen bacteria and parasites, such as flies, maggots, and worms. But food which is so contaminated should be destroyed, not eaten.
In an age when malnutrition is a prevalent danger, destroying the nutritional value of foods is ridiculous. Even if the irradiation of vegetables means that more people have access to such perishable foods, of what use is it if the food has lost all its vitamin and mineral content? It is then only empty calories. Food irradiation is a rich man's toy, providing the wealthy with the means of getting, for example, insect-free papayas from India. The time and money spent on irradiation research would be better employed in increasing local food production, and thus local economic and political strength and self-sufficiency.
Research in the UK and by WHO has shown that irradiated food is not a health hazard. Any induced radioactivity apparant immediately after radiation is at least one million times less than the naturally occurring radiation. After three days, it is one hundred million times less than naturally occurring radioactivity.
The US Food and Drug Administration approves the use of irradiation to kill harmful bacteria in food, calling it a safe and appropriate procedure.