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Friday, February 24, 2017

Canada offers beef irradiation as another tool for food safety.

The government of Canada’s announcement this week of changes to its food and drug regulations to permit irradiation of ground beef was not a surprise. It was a long time coming, though, with industry having requested the change in 1998. Canada has already approved radiation to treat potatoes, onions, wheat, flour, spices and seasoning preparations. The United States has permitted the irradiation of fresh and frozen ground beef since 1999. More than 60 countries permit irradiation of various foods to kill pathogens and/or pests. Health Canada published the new regulations on Wednesday. Canadian officials said the government views the technology as another tool for use by the beef industry in improving food safety. Irradiation is not intended to replace existing food safety practices for handling, storage and sanitation. It’s purpose is to complement those practices. Irradiation reduces levels of harmful bacteria, such as E, coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter, as well as preventing premature spoilage, and extending shelf life. It does so by exposing food to energy with ionizing radiation. Health Canada found that ground beef subjected to irradiation retains its nutritional values, taste, texture and appearance. Irradiated foods must carry a both a written description and the Radura symbol. If not packaged, Canada requires the information be made available at the point of sale. continue