- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government, in a step welcomed by food makers,
adopted a new rule Monday that allows less prominent wording on packages
for food that was irradiated. The disclosure now can be in the same, usually
small, typeface devoted to listing ingredients in the food. The new Food
and Drug Administration rule reflected a change first made by a 1997 law.
Before then, the wording had to be prominent. ``Obviously, we're gratified.
... It's our hope now they will go further and look at what labeling is
most informative,'' said Timothy Willard of the National Food Processors
- Irradiation uses tiny doses of gamma
rays or X-rays to kill bacteria. The FDA has ruled it does not make foods
radioactive nor does it change their taste, texture or appearance. However,
the food industry has been slow to adopt the technology, partly due to
limited consumer acceptance. Willard said the disclosure -- ``treated with
radiation'' or ''treated by ionizing radiation'' -- and the accompanying
''radura'' logo often were mistaken by consumers as a warning rather than
a description of a safe processing method. The FDA has approved irradiation
for spices, fruits, vegetables, pork, poultry and red meat. The Agriculture
Department, which oversees meat safety, was studying potential regulations
allowing use of irradiation on red meat as well as how to label the product.
- In recent months, concern about food
safety has brought attention to irradiation as a way to kill parasites.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has argued irradiation was
being oversold as a solution.