Irradiation labeling

The National Food Processors Assn. (NFPA) has asked U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to solicit and review public comments on labeling requirements for irradiated meat and meat products as part of its upcoming rulemaking.

FDA approved irradiation of red meat in December 1997, and FSIS must issue regulations on irradiation use and labeling requirements. (For an update on packaging materials and irradiation, see p. 74.) Because irradiation is effective in killing pathogens, NFPA believes the government should help advance its use. NFPA Vice President of Government Affairs Brian Folkerts said the "warning label" appearance of current irradiation labels discourages use of irradiation. In its petition, NFPA requested FSIS to invite comments on: * whether special labeling requirements, such as "radiation" disclosures, are scientifically or legally justified; * whether a "radiation" disclosure requirement for the labeling of irradiated meat would contribute to unfounded consumer apprehension as to the safety of irradiated meat and tend to discourage the use of that process by food companies; * whether, in light of these issues, the current labeling requirements for irradiated poultry products should be revised; * whether-if any labeling requirements are deemed warranted-both the meat and the poultry regulations should conform to the FDA regulations with respect to the placement and lettering of any required statements.

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