NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 5, 2007

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing a ruling to relax its labeling regulations for irradiated foods and supplements to provide consumers with more useful information than the current regulation, say observers.

  • Irradiation works by exposing foods to ionizing radiation that kills insects, moulds and bacterium.
  • The technology, which can kill up to 99 percent of pathogens, is seen by the industry as a means of ensuring food safety.
  • The National Center for Policy Analysis estimates that if half the food at greatest risk consumed in the United States were to be irradiated, food-borne illnesses would decline by 900,000 cases annually and deaths by 352.

However public concerns over the health effects of the technology has meant global food companies have had to deal with a confusing thicket of legislation and restrictions when making and marketing their products.

But the FDA's new proposed labeling revisions would help clarify the confusion.  Only those irradiated foods in which the irradiation causes a material change in the food, would bear the radura logo (currently required of all irradiated food), and the term "irradiate" or a derivative thereof - "pasteurized" has been suggested -- in conjunction with a description of the change in the food.

Source: Lorraine Heller, "FDA proposes to relax labeling for irradiated foods,", April 5, 2007.


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