FDA Proposes Calling Irradiated
Foods 'Pasteurized' (Incredible!)

Frontier Natural Products Coop newsletter - April 2007

The Food and Drug Administration Tuesday suggested allowing the use of the term "pasteurized" to describe irradiated foods as part of its proposed easing of the rules on labeling of irradiated foods.
The proposed new rules would require irradiated food to be labeled only when the radiation treatment caused a material change to the product, such as changes to the taste, texture, smell or shelf life. In order to use the term "pasteurized" for irradiated products, companies would be required to show the FDA that the radiation kills germs as effectively as conventional pasteurization. Companies would also be able to petition the agency to use additional alternate terms other than "irradiated."
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said, "This move by the FDA would deny consumers clear information about whether they are buying food that has been exposed to high doses of ionizing radiation." The FDA seemed to acknowledge that allowing alternative ways of describing irradiation would confuse consumers in their proposal: "Research indicates that many consumers regard substitute terms for irradiation to be misleading," but were not available for further comment.
The FDA posted the proposed rule changes on its Web site and will accept public comments on the proposal for 90 days. To view and comment on the proposal, go to the search engine, enter "FDA-2007-0189-0001" in the Keyword or ID field (the other fields can be left as they are) and click Submit. In the two right-hand columns of the search results, you can click on icons to download a pdf of the document, view it online and make comments.
Editors note: Finding the pages for readers to view and comment on this proposal provided some interesting insights. I first went to, where I couldn't find any mention of the proposed changes or how to comment on them. The search term "irradiation" returned 5440 results, the top three ("sorted by relevance") being 1)"Food Irradiation--A Safe Measure" (subheaded "Food Irradiation is a safe measure."), 2) "FDA/CFSAN Is food irradiation safe?" an excerpt from "Food Irradiation--A Safe Measure") and 3) "Irradiation: A Safe Measure For Safer Food." The A-Z index has one item under irradiation: "Food Irradiation--A Safe Measure." Through a series of less-than-intuitive links, I eventually found my way to and was able to track down the proposal and page for commenting.



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