Irradiation update

On August 17, FDA modified its labeling requirements for irradiated foods, eliminating the requirement that the irradiation disclosure be displayed prominently.

Such information now may be presented in the same typeface, usually small, as ingredient listings. The regulation results from the FDA Modernization Act of 1997. Consumers often mistook the old irradiation labeling as a warning label, thus discouraging manufacturers from using irradiation, according to Kelly Johnston, NFPA's executive vice president for government affairs. Johnston said FDA should take the next step and determine whether irradiation labeling requirements are scientifically or legally justified. NFPA has filed a petition with FDA to eliminate "radiation" disclosure requirements for irradiated foods. Meanwhile, USDA has yet to issue its proposed regulation on labeling of irradiated meat and meat products. NFPA petitioned the Food Safety and Inspection Service to solicit public comment on issues related to labeling requirements. FSIS needs to hear from a variety of sources, said NFPA, on how to make labels on irradiated products more informative, and less misleading.

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