FDA Mulls Relaxing Labeling Rule on Irradiated Foods

WASHINGTON -- The rules could be easing on the labeling of irradiated foods in the U.S. Under a proposed change, the Food and Drug Administration would require companies to label irradiated food only when the radiation treatment causes changes to the taste, texture, smell, or shelf life.

The FDA also proposed letting companies use the term "pasteurized" to describe irradiated foods. To do so, vendors would have to show that the radiation kills germs as well as the pasteurization process does.

The government proposal would also let companies petition the agency to use additional alternate terms to "irradiated," something already allowed by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, but that no firms have pursued, according to the FDA.

FDA will accept public comments on the proposal for 90 days. If and when the rule is finalized, the Department of Agriculture could also undergo a similar process to change the irradiation labeling requirements for the foods it regulates, including meat and poultry.
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