Canada considers rules to permit sale of irradiated ground beef

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OTTAWA, Ontario – Health Canada is proposing regulations that would permit the sale of irradiated fresh and frozen ground beef.

Proposed amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations would allow, but not require, the beef industry to use irradiation to improve the safety of beef products. “Like all other irradiated foods, irradiated ground beef would need to be clearly labelled as such in accordance with the existing labelling requirements set out in regulations,” the agency said in a notice on the Health Canada website.

The regulations will be announced in June followed by a public comment period that is expected to last 75 days.

Currently, Canada does allow irradiation of some products, including potatoes, onions, wheat, flour, whole wheat flour, whole or ground spices and dehydrated seasonings. Irradiation kills pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella using very low doses of ionizing radiation.

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