The hidden dangers of radiation

Do you check the labels of food products for the country of origin? Looking for the International Irradiation Symbol, also known as the “Natura” symbol, on the label? Usually green, this symbol is a circle enclosing another circle hovering over two leaves.

Irradiated food products are exposed to a high level of radiation in order to sterilize them. Scientists tell us that high levels of radiation raise the energy level of atoms and molecules resulting in “free radical” atoms. Irradiation is a method used to sanitize and preserve food, primarily to extend shelf life.

While there is consumer backlash against irradiation in human products, irradiation is becoming prevalent in the poorly regulated pet treat market. After all, if sterilization can happen and extend the shelf life of dog and cat treats, what could be better for the companies that sell them? Dog and cat treat products with virtually no expiration date are showing up at a pet store near you.

Should you be worried, and if so, what can you do? The best advocate you can be for both your family and your pet is to read labels. I can’t stress this enough, even if it means breaking out those reading glasses like grandpa’s. First, you need to check the pet treats from the country of origin. If the product is made in China, the probability that these three words are in small print on a back label is very high. And, if the product is indeed made in China, as most pet treats sold today are, this should set off alarm bells for the health of your beloved family member (see the FDA on imported pet treats).

After verifying the country of origin of the dog or cat treats, you must verify the international symbol of irradiation. Ironically, and perhaps not surprisingly, imported pet treats and irradiation almost always appear together. If the product does not have an expiration date, you should also question that. Would you eat a food that never expires?

What are some of the consequences of irradiation on dog and cat treats? Cats have been shown to be affected by irradiated food by experiencing paralytic illness (2008 cat food recall, Australia), while dogs experience kidney problems. While science hasn’t shown that a long-term diet of irradiated foods is safe for humans, how can we assume it’s safe for our peers?

Irradiation kills some bacteria, but it also damages vitamins and enzymes, and combines with chemicals to form new compounds, some of which are toxic. Since irradiated foods lose vitamins and damage natural enzymes, the body has to work harder to digest them. Studies in animals fed irradiated food have shown an increase in tumors, reproductive failure, and kidney damage.

Much of what pet owners buy for their dogs and cats depends on their own level of awareness of issues such as irradiation, country of origin, and products of origin for treats. Many loving pet owners unknowingly feed their beloved pets toxic treats every day and are saddened when these dogs and cats become inexplicably ill and face huge veterinary costs. Many times in these situations, the damage has already been done.

I can’t tell you how many dog ​​owners have emailed and called me, telling me their stories, “If only I had known.”

I was also that person, whose beloved dog, Kona, almost died from imported chicken jerky from China. Fortunately, Kona survived, and my mission is to raise awareness of the dangers of imported pet treats and irradiated pet treats (often one in the same), and prevent unnecessary suffering for cats and dogs in America.

To learn more, read Kona’s story.

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