MediaNomics reported that the networks had waited two weeks
after e. coli bacteria was found in Hudson Foods meat to report on
irradiation, an anti-contamination process endorsed by many health
This month, as the Food &
Drug Administration finally approved the use of irradiation for
meat, the networks responded quickly with informative stories about
the process. NBC’s Tom Brokaw introduced a December 2 Nightly
News story by saying irradiation would take "the fear out of
eating a hamburger or other red meat."
In the story that followed,
correspondent Robert Bazell wondered if people would choose
irradiated meat, but said irradiation "could be a big step toward
making meat safer" because "health officials estimate that there are
an astounding 250 million cases of food poisoning in the U.S. every
year, an average of one a year for all of us."
On that evening’s World
News Tonight, ABC’s Peter Jennings said the FDA was "trying to
make the meat you eat even safer. After three years of study the
Food & Drug Administration has approved a tool to fight harmful
bacteria in meat." He noted that "it’s a procedure already used on
poultry, fruits and spices."