Food Irradiation

Why do Australia and New Zealand governments want the power to irradiate all fruit and vegetables? More trade, pure and simple. But what about human and animal health? Previously there was only one food irradiation plant at Narangba on the outskirts of Brisbane, now there are two. The second being at Vic Markets in Melbourne CBD where a 2018 $5 million X-ray facility to treat export-bound fruit and vegies destined for some of Australia’s largest horticultural export markets. They say they are phasing out Cobalt 60 irradiation like the one at Narangba, but do we believe anything the nuclear industry tells us?

Food Standards Australia New Zealand wants to make a blanket approval for the irradiation of all fresh fruits and vegetables. We’ve been fighting this since 1999, when the long-fought-for moratorium of the 80s was lifted. Argh!

Ian talks with Robin Taubenfeld (Friends of the Earth) and Bob Phelps (Gene Ethics). There is a statement from Rosemarie Severin (Just Peace and Friends of the Earth) and a speech from the vault by Sandra Bloodworth (Campaign Against Nuclear Power).

Here is the podcast of the show on “Food Irradiation” that puts the anti-uranium speech in context. I played Sandra Bloodworth’s speech from 4th march 1978 rally in King George Square after the interview with Bob Phelps because both Sandra and Bob were activists in Campaign Against Nuclear Power (CANP). At the time CANP was a broad based group campaigning against the nuclear industry, specifically, against Uranium Mining and Export supported by state and federal governments. Sandra makes the link between the nuclear industry and Democratic Rights during what turned out to be the longest campaign of mass defiance (Sept 77 – July 79) against a government in Australian history (with the exception of the Aboriginal Resistance, land never ceded). Over 2,000 people were arrested during that struggle. Interestingly the bottom fell out of the uranium market and Queensland never mined or exported uranium. Nevertheless the government still supports the nuclear industry retaining hazardous waste and condoning the transport of Cobalt 60 rods to the Narangba Food Irradiation plant.

Sadly we lost both struggles – Democratic Rights and opposition to Uranium Mining and Export.

Here’s what to do. Email the two people in parliament responsible. Yvette D’Ath and Mark Furner. Here is a pro-former letter.

Subject: No to Food Irradiation
To: <>, <>

Dear Yvette & Mark,

I see you are the Queen and Prince of the Food Forum.

You may remember the 2008 controversy around Steritech in the Narangba Industrial Estate.

Please reconsider the proposed blanket irradiation of all fruit and veg. It goes against much of the science and will be detrimental to people’s health. For more info see

Listen in to the experts on the Paradigm Shift (4ZZZ fm 102.1 Fridays at Noon)>

Trust all is going well with you.


Public opposition to Steritech Food Irradiation Plant Narangba

Formidale Vegetable Sound System – You are what you eat

Jessica Harrison and Friends – Bjelke Blues

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