Grass Fed Beef: The "Clean" Alternative to Irradiation


CONTACT: Dr. Patricia Whisnant
Veterinarian and Grass Fed Beef Rancher

Grass Fed Beef:
The “Clean” Alternative to Irradiation

American beef consumers are well aware of the dangers of E. Coli bacteria, as outbreaks in recent years have pushed this nasty little bug off the grill and into the national headlines. But what many in this beef-crazy nation might not know is the widely approved “cure” might be every bit as bad the disease!

The “safety net” adopted to combat E. Coli, known as irradiation, has been hailed by the World Health Organization and even the AMA as the ultimate weapon in the fight against food decontamination. Irradiation is a process by which a food product is exposed to high doses of radiation to kill bacteria, parasites and mold. Three types of radiation are permitted: gamma rays, high-energy electrons and X-rays.

As effective as it might be in killing what might be growing on our food, experts say irradiation introduces another potential evil into what we eat: the very radiation that is supposed to protect us. The dosage of radiation deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration, says one scientist, is 150 million times greater than that of a normal chest X-ray.

Dr. Samuel S. Epstein, professor emeritus of environmental medicine at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s School of Public Health, says the government’s assertion that irradiated food is safe “does not even pass the laugh test.”

In addition to scientific evidence showing that eating irradiated meat poses grave risks of cancer and genetic damage, other studies conducted by Epstein and others opposed to the process show that irradiation damages food by breaking up molecules and creating free radicals, causes a loss of 5-80% of many vitamins, and damages the natural digestive enzymes found in raw foods.

Other points to consider:

  • Cattle raised in feedlots are exposed to diseases and high levels of fecal contamination from their confined environment. Irradiating meat to neutralize fecal matter does not eliminate the fecal matter on the beef carcass during careless processing.
  • Cattle processed at the rate of 400-plus cows per hour using unskilled labor with nearly a 100% turnover rate contributes to mistakes in processing and increases the risk of cross contamination.
  • Irradiation allows corporations to maintain high-speed processing operations, increases beef shelf life, increases distances that beef can be shipped and masks beef deterioration — advantages which are not focused on your health but on corporate profits.

The alternative? Grass-fed beef. Cattle raised in natural open grass pastures 100% of their lives harbor significantly lower numbers of E.coli, according to the USDA. As an added benefit, grass-fed cows are exposed to fewer pathogens grazing in clean, open areas vs. cramped, contaminated feedlot pens.

Dr. Patricia Whisnant, a veterinarian and owner of, states, “We have opted to provide our customers with clean, dry-aged, grass-fed beef processed individually by a skilled butcher in a USDA facility. The beef you receive from a small ranch like ours is a completely different product than industrial grain fed beef you buy at a typical grocery store.”

For more information about grass-fed beef and available products, visit the website at

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