editorial -- December 15, 1997
Mr. Happy Comes to Dinner
Shh! Don't tell anyone the good news! The FDA's recent decision to allow beef irradiation might lead to fewer cases of food poisoning in the United States. If you're one of the many people who have spent post-meal hours praying to the porcelain god, you know that food poisoning is far too common of a problem.
The FDA's two year beef irradiation trial could give us a cheap and effective method of
eliminating contamination risks in the case of prepared hamburgers.
Unfortunately, approval by the FDA's rigid and lumbering bureaucracy
is the easy part. Now irradiation must be approved by a paranoid
and scientifically ignorant public. That's why we have to keep
this between you and me. I'm not suggesting that irradiated products
be hidden from consumers -- just that they be presented in a manner
in which an idiotic public can hope to understand.
"Irradiation" sounds too scary. Let's
call it "Mr. Happy." Better, huh? Let's label that WhopperTM
wrapper with "Sterilized for your protection by Mr. Happy."
Of course, the first time one of these hamburgers is sold, Ralph
Nader and all his granola-freak friends will pop out of the woodwork
and scream that the sky is falling. With a little luck, though,
the public won't hear. Maybe O.J. will return to dominate the
media. Maybe Diane Sawyer will be too busy reporting the re-incarnation
of Princess Di. Maybe, just maybe, we can slip this one by -- and
save hundreds of lives in the process.