A little light spring drizzle

It’s been raining

It’s not fun being a farmer in weeks like the one just past. Even the most sedentary and desk-bound of us couldn’t help but notice that it was raining. And not just a little light Cape drizzle to welcome in the spring, but bucketloads of heavy rain, and hail. Almost all of our fresh suppliers were affected, and many of our products this week were in extremely short supply, or unavailable entirely, due to hail and rain damage. Apologies to everyone who’s delivery notes were covered with the dreaded ‘Not Available’.

It’s at times like these we almost wish we irradiated our food, and could just haul out that bag of apples that’s been languishing in cold storage since 2006. Fortunately, we don’t.


South Africa irradiates between 5000 and 10 000 tonnes of food a year. There are various kinds of irradiation, but gamma radiation using cobalt-60 is one of the most common. Cobalt-60 is produced as a by-product of the nuclear industry, much like the case with flouride, another toxic industry pollutant marketed as beneficial.

Irradiation destroys nutrients and vitamins in food. I’m continually amazed at the amount of blatant misinformation and spin when it comes to the food industry. A pro-irradiation report asks “Are irradiated foods nutritious?” and concludes, very simply, “Yes”, in its summary. Except that, a few lines later in the same report, it’s mentioned that carbohydrates, proteins and fats are ‘largely unaffected’, as are ‘most vitamins’. Except for Carotene (a precursor of Vitamin A), Vitamin B1, Vitamin C, and vitamin E that is, which are ‘most sensitive’. But not to worry, irradiation only has a similar effect on food to ‘thermal energy’. In other words, a highly negative effect, as you may have noticed if you’ve left your food in the sun all day. And that’s just the effect on vitamin levels, not taking into account DNA damage, or the destruction of the natural enzymes in the food, making them harder to digest, and absorb the nutrients that are left.

Irradiation is a particular concern when done to food containing pesticides, as it combines with the pesticides to form unique radiolytic products, some of which are known toxins, and none of which have been studied for any long-term effects on the body.

The main purpose of irradiation is to kill off biological activity in the food, so what’s left will no longer age naturally, and appear fresher for longer. As with genetically-modified foods, the legislation in South Africa is extremely lax. While even the US applies mandatory labelling, that’s not the case in South Africa, though at least here some supermarkets commit to not offering any irradiated fresh food.

Back in stock

A number of old favourites are back in stock again. The ‘superfoods’, maca and hemp powder, are in the ‘Flour, seeds and grains’ section, and of course raw chocolate is still in the ‘Chocs, sweets and snacks’ section. Jaggery, and the Amaizin corn chips are also back in stock after a long absence.

To order, go to www.ethical.org.za.

Have a great week!

The Co-op team

Comments ( 2 )

  1. Tracy

    Is irradiated and radurised the same thing?

  2. admin

    Yes, they're the same thing. 'Radurised' is used as a term on the label to denote something that's been irradiated.