Learn what food irradiation is, what it does, and why it is not used extensively in the United States.

Chapter 14 Exercise — Food Irradiation at Synergy, Inc.
You work in the Corporate Communications Department at Synergy, Inc., a corporation that employs about 1,500 workers in New Jersey. A new chief operating officer, Emile Paton, has joined Synergy from a similar manufacturing organization in Belgium.

Paton has gotten in touch with you to discuss the company’s response to the recent recall of thousands of pounds of tainted beef, as well as the closing of a meat-processing plant. Synergy runs a full-service cafeteria and dining room that serves some 5,000 meals a week to its employees.

“I assume we are totally in compliance with local health regulations?” he asks you.

“Yes,” you reply, “we are. I checked with the food service last week.”

“And I assume all the foods are irradiated?”

“I don’t think we do that,” you respond, “but let me check and get back to you.”

Checking again with the food service, you learn that none of the food is irradiated. You report this to Paton.

“That’s odd,” Paton tells you. “In Europe, it’s quite routine. It cuts down on the bacteria. Would you do me a favor, please? Do a little research on this topic. Find out why irradiation isn’t done much in the United States. Is it a cost issue? Are there health hazards? Is it not available? I’d like to see whether we should consider doing it here at Synergy. Companies in Europe make it a point to tell their workers about irradiation—it’s good public relations if the food is irradiated. Could you write me a brief report? A memo of a few pages will do. If the idea has any promise, we’ll study it in detail.”

To complete this case, perform the following tasks:

  1. Study Chapter 14, focusing on memos.
  2. Using the links listed here, as well as a search engine, learn what food irradiation is, what it does, and why it is not used extensively in the United States.
  • Write a 500-750 word memo to Paton explaining your findings and recommending whether it would be wise to do a formal study on whether the company’s food service should use irradiated food.

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