Canada extends food irradiation use
manufacturers but other countries across the world are making steps
towards increasing the use of this controversial food preservation
technology. Canada made moves this week.
Europe may remain reticent over the use of irradiation by food manufacturers but other countries across the world are making steps towards increasing the use of this controversial food preservation technology. Canada made moves this week.
After lengthy scientific reviews, the Canadian government yesterday announced that public consultations will begin on proposed regulatory changes which would expand the list of irradiated foods allowed to be sold in Canada.
Currently wheat, flour, whole wheat flour, potatoes, onions, whole and ground spices and dehydrated seasoning preparations are the only foods permitted to be irradiated and sold in Canada. The proposed additions to the table are: fresh and frozen ground beef; fresh and frozen poultry; pre-packaged fresh, frozen, prepared and dried shrimp and prawns; and mangoes.
The proposed amendments would allow these new foods to be irradiated and sold, but would not make it a mandatory process. Current regulations require that irradiated foods, whether produced in Canada or imported, be labelled as irradiated and bear the internationally-used "radura" symbol when offered for sale.
For critics of the technology, the Canadian government wrote this week: "After an objective and factual review of industry submissions by Health Canada scientists, as well as a safety review, the department is recommending proposed amendments to the Food and Drug Regulations.
"These reviews, as well as other scientific sources, have concluded that the consumption of these irradiated foods would not result in any risk to the health of the consumer, that the irradiation of these foods would not result in destruction or loss of nutrients where that food is a significant source of those nutrients in the diet and that the proposed uses of food irradiation could be beneficial through improved safety and quality of these food products resulting from enhanced control of pathogens."
As Canada and the US make steps to include food irradiation in everyday food manufacturing processes, it is unlikely that these steps will be mirrored in Europe, where the consumer remains highly suspicious and critical of this food preservation technology.