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What The Media Tell Americans About Free Enterprise

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December 1997



In September, 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 experts.

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."


Rich Noyes





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