- 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
- 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
- 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 Regulations.gov 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 fda.gov, 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 www.regulations.gov and was able to
track down the proposal and page for commenting.