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News Releases
Congressional and Public Affairs
(202) 720-9113
Amanda Eamich

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2008 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) today announced a public meeting to discuss a petition requesting recognition for the use of low penetration and low dose irradiation on the surface of chilled beef carcasses as a processing aid.

The public meeting will be held on Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at L'Enfant Plaza Hotel, 480 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., Washington, DC 20024. The meeting will feature a review of the information presented in the industry petition submitted to FSIS, and receive public comments on what action it should take with respect to the petition.

Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to radiant energy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved irradiation of meat and poultry and allows its use for a variety of other foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, and spices, and determined that the process is safe and effective in decreasing or eliminating harmful bacteria. FSIS then approved the suitability of food irradiation for use in treating refrigerated or frozen, uncooked meat and poultry products to reduce levels of foodborne pathogens and to extend shelf-life.

Currently, FSIS requires that meat or poultry treated with the traditional use of sources of ionizing radiation to bear the radura logo along with a statement such as "Treated with radiation" or "Treated by irradiation." Food irradiation is often used commercially to reduce numbers of pathogenic organisms, eliminate insect pests or extend shelf-life internationally, including in the United States.

Processing aids are defined by FDA regulations as substances that are added to a food for their technical effect during processing, but are not present in the finished product at significant levels and do not have any technical or functional effect in the food. Additionally, FDA regulations provide that processing aids are not required to be included on product labels. The use of low penetration and low dose irradiation on the surface of chilled beef carcasses is a unique application of the technology compared to the traditional application. Only the surface tissues of the beef carcass are affected, not the entire carcass. FSIS believes that this unique application fits with the description of a processing aid, thereby not requiring special labeling.

Individuals are encouraged to pre-register to attend, and should visit www.fsis.usda.gov or contact Robert Tynan at (202) 720-3884 or by e-mail at Robert.Tynan@fsis.usda.gov. The agenda and other related information will be available prior to the meeting on the FSIS Web site at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&_Events/
Meetings_&_Events/index.asp
.

For further information, contact Patrick Burke at (202) 720-7974 or by e-mail at Patrick.Burke@fsis.usda.gov. Persons requiring a sign language interpreter or other special accommodations should notify Mr. Tynan as soon as possible.

Written comments on this issue must be received on or before Oct. 18, 2008. Comments can be sent to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Room 2534 South Agriculture Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, D.C. 20250, or submitted through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. Go to http://www.regulations.gov and in the "Search for Open Regulations" box, select "Food Safety and Inspection Service" and "Proposed Rules" from the agency drop-down menu and then click on "Submit." In the Docket ID column, select the FDMS Docket Number to submit or view public comments and to view supporting and related materials available electronically. After the close of the comment period, the docket can be viewed using the "Advanced Search" function in Regulations.gov. All submissions received by mail or electronic mail must reference the Food Safety and Inspection Service and include the docket number FSIS-2008-0028.
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Last Modified May 31, 2013