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USDA Considers Irradiation as a Processing Aid

11 September 2008
USDA

US - The US Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), has said that it will consider irradiation of meat as a processing aid.

The inspection service announced this week that it has received a petition from the American Meat Institute (AMI) to recognize the use of low penetration and low dose electron beam irradiation on the surface of chilled beef carcasses as a processing aid.

Low-dose electron beam irradiation can kill bacteria such as E. coli. The technology is seen by the industry as a means of ensuring food safety and extending shelf life.

"Based on its consideration of the data and information contained in the petition, FSIS believes that the petition has merit." a statement said.

The FSIS has announced that it will hold a public meeting on September 18, 2008, to review the information contained in the petition and to receive public comments on what action it should take with respect to the petition A copy of the petition is available on the FSIS Web site.

The AMI argues that studies have shown that the reduction of pathogens on the carcass surface using low-dose (I kiloGray kGy) low-penetration (20 milimetres) irradiation does not affect flavour, nutritional quality, appearance or shelf-life of the meat from the carcass.

“The electron beam has a functional effect of reducing pathogens on the carcass surface, but that once the energy from the electrons is absorbed, there are no further functional effects from the irradiation,” states the AMI petition.

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