The chances are that you now have a microwave oven in your kitchen—and that you use it at least once a day for preparing food for yourself or your family.
There are millions of microwave ovens in use around the world. In America nearly three quarters of all households own a microwave oven. In France one in five households own a microwave oven and in Germany the figure is slightly lower than that. In Britain around half of all households own a microwave oven. Thousands of restaurants use microwave ovens every day to prepare food for their customers.
Despite the fact that you were probably given an instruction booklet and a recipe book when you bought your microwave you may occasionally be disappointed by the results. Sometimes the food you cook may turn out to be unexpectedly soft or inedibly hard. And you may have difficulty in making sure that the food you cook has an even temperature throughout. Occasionally, food that is cooked in a microwave oven may be hot on the outside but comparatively under-cooked on the inside.
These are comparatively minor niggles. And could, perhaps, be as much a result of your unfamiliarity with the technology as of an inherent fault in the machine. But have you ever wondered exactly how safe microwave ovens are?
Have you ever wondered whether food is changed in any way when it is put into a microwave oven? Have you ever asked yourself whether or not food that is microwaved could lose any of its goodness or even, heaven forbid, acquire any
Those are, I suspect, questions that more and more people are asking themselves. And they are, I believe, questions which have not yet been answered satisfactorily although I have been asking them for some time (and getting criticised for daring to do so).
My own fears about microwave ovens are increasing as the number of people who use them goes up.
The microwave oven uses short wave electromagnetic radiation to heat up food. And as far as I know no one has yet done any exhaustive clinical trials to find out whether or not using a modern microwave oven is as safe as using an old fashioned oven.
There are various potential problems.
First, the occasional failure of some microwave ovens to heat the inside of a piece of food properly could possibly mean that some of the bacteria in food which would have been killed by old fashioned cooking methods may not be killed. Food in a microwave oven is usually heated for a relatively short period of time (that is, I suspect, the main attraction of the microwave oven to the modern consumer) and it is difficult to ensure that every part of a food item is heated equally.
The second problem is: are the waves that are used to do the cooking in a microwave harmful to humans? If any of the ‘microwaves’ escape from the oven will they harm your health? I don’t know the answer to that question. And I believe that it may be some time before anyone can answer it with certainty. The manufacturers will probably insist that there is no evidence that microwaves are dangerous. But without exhaustive, clinical trials I doubt if we will know for another ten, twenty or even thirty years whether or not microwave ovens are completely safe. And because microwave ovens are so widely used that could mean that an enormous number of people could be harmed before the evidence becomes clear-cut.
Finally, does using a microwave oven affect the food you eat in any harmful way? Is food cooked in a microwave oven safe
For babies? Is it completely safe for children? Is it completely safe for pregnant women? Once again I don’t think anyone knows the answer to that question with any certainty.
Microwave ovens may be perfectly safe. Worries about the possible hazards associated with their use may be entirely unfounded. But at the moment I don’t know how safe microwave ovens are. And I would like to see the microwave manufacturers—who are, presumably making profits out of selling microwave ovens—obliged to perform extensive, exhaustive clinical trials to find out exactly how safe their products are.
Is Genetically Modified Food Really Dangerous?
Scientists are now beginning to alter the genetic composition of common foods—in order to make them look or taste more attractive, less likely to perish or more suitable for human consumption.
No one knows yet what hazards might be involved in eating genetically altered food. But it is possible for food to be altered to include genes taken from humans or other animals.
I strongly suggest that you refuse to buy—or eat—food that has had its genetic composition changed in any way.