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Article | March 31, 1998
Catching the rays (sidebar)
Old MacDonald never had this kind of farm
About two weeks after the FDA approved irradiation for meat the USDA issued its proposed regulations on labeling of organic foods. And what do you know! The USDA said food could be irradiated and still labeled "organic." That sent environmentalists into a tailspin from which they still have not recovered. The USDA will be getting comments on its organic food production processing and labeling standards proposal until April 30 and could change it before it reaches final form. But Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) made a good point when he said that considering the people most likely to buy organic produce a food processor would have to be a little crazy to irradiate the product. There are a number of labeling provisions in the proposal. Basically a food could be labeled "organic" or "made with certain organic ingredients" depending on how the product was produced. Any productwith less than 50% organic content could list individual ingredients as being organic. The proposal if it is not changed may present some problems for some types of packaging according to Ralph Simmons an attorney with the Washington law firm of Keller & Heckman. Packaging cannot contain a synthetic fungicide preservative or fumigant. That could be a big stumbling block for emulsion polymers in particular which especially when they contain water also contain biocides. Simmons says pelletized resins sometimes come with biocides too.
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