WASHINGTON — The American Meat Institute is urging the Food Safety and Inspection Service to move forward with the rulemaking process regarding its petition to allow the use of electron-beam irradiation on beef carcass surfaces as a processing aid.

"Given the substantial food-safety benefits this technology offers it seems that the technical issues being raised four years after the petition’s submission can be appropriately addressed during the notice and comment rulemaking process," said James Hodges, A.M.I. executive vice-president in a letter to Jerold R. Mande, U.S.D.A. Deputy Undersecretary of Food Safety.

"A.M.I. has asked that F.S.I.S. recognize e-beam irradiation as a processing aid when applied to the surface of chilled beef carcasses and that the agency treat this process no differently than it treats any other processing aid," Hodges said. He added that "A.M.I. has provided the necessary research and rationale to support our request."

Mr. Hodges asked Mr. Mande for an opportunity to meet to resolve any issues of concern and to clarify any misunderstanding that might exist regarding the regulatory process to implement this "promising technology".