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Here is a response from Surebeam:
"The technology does not affect credit cards,
developed photographs, CDs, floppy disks, or any other magnetic media. It
does inactive electronic items and undeveloped film however.
At the doses needed to kill anthrax, the technology will prevent seeds from
germinating and bulbs from sprouting. It would also likely kill live
plants. The lower doses usually used for food treatment don't have this
damaging effect, seeds would remain viable at low doses, but the high doses
are necessary to kill anthrax. Live fish and livestock wouldn't be shipped
through the USPS, so I wouldn't worry about it. For food, we use much lower
doses and your foods will be safe to eat and not be affected in terms of
Food can't be treated at the high doses required for anthrax because food
doses are limited by FDA and USDA regulations. Food should be treated in a
SureBeam food processing facility at the correct dose, then shipped through
the mail with the label on it that it has already been irradiated. This is
done only at the discretion or choice of the food producer however, not the
postal service. END. I think I should call my steak of the month club...
The real question is then how the postal service will use this, and when.
Surebeam seems to think it will be used selectively on letters primarily,
and those with questionable or unknown return addresses. My local postoffice
says it will be used on letters only. I have written the Postal inspector
generals office for an official position, but I would not be surprised if
they do not want to fully make public what their intentions are, if they
even know at this point. I dont think I would be too high on their priority
list right now. Again, its seems unlikely to me it will be a problem by the
time they get it implemented, and simply labeling the box as live plants or
livestock may solve the problem. Express mail may be exempt anyway because
the sender must provide a valid return address and ID. In the worse case,
there is UPS, FEDX, DHL, Emerey, and a dozen other carriers to use. This is
also the position of Peter at Arizona Aquatic, the single largest mail order
plant retailer, who doesnt plan on changing his services anytime soon,
unless more details are announced. Nothing will change drastically, we may
in the worst case simply need to adapt.
I will tell you all one thing about New Yorkers though, they are tough.
During the month of October, nearly 40% of all my sales were shipped to the
state of New York. And my largest sale last week was to someone who lost his
brother in the Towers. But thats another story.
Robert Paul Hudson