elizabeth.smith at omafra.gov.on.ca
Fri Jan 21 05:52:56 PST 2000
Here's some info on irradiation from Canada:
Where did you hear that the labeling laws about irradiated food are changing? As far as I know there is no direction for this change (food labeling requirements in Canada are under review - it is currently not mandatory to label foods regarding their nutrient content however many, many manufacturers do and by choosing to do so must meet certain requirements; the laws around irradiated foods are different). Check the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Website:
for more details about the regulations for irradiated foods.
>From the CFIA site: There are two aspects of food irradiation which are subject to federal controls: safety and labeling.
Division 26 of the Food and Drug Regulations recognizes food irradiation as a food process. From a safety perspective, Health Canada is responsible for regulations specifying which foods may be irradiated and the treatment levels permitted.
To date, the following foods may be irradiated and sold in Canada (B.26.003):
Item Food Purpose of Treatment
1. Potatoes To inhibit sprouting during storage
2. Onions To inhibit sprouting during storage
3. Wheat, flour, whole wheat flour To control insect infestation in stored food
4. Whole or ground spices and dehydrated seasoning preparations To reduce microbial load
Regulations for the labeling of irradiated foods are administered by CFIA and apply equally to all domestic and imported foods in Canada. The labeling regulations as outlined in section B.01.035 of the Food and Drug Regulations require the identification of wholly irradiated foods with both a written statement such as "irradiated" or "treated with irradiation" and the international symbol:
Major ingredients which constitute more than 10% of the final food must be identified in the list of ingredients as "irradiated". Signs accompanying the bulk displays of irradiated foods are also required to carry the same identification as that shown on package labels. Food advertisements for irradiated foods must clearly reveal that they have been irradiated.
2. Irradiated foods are extremely safe; Foods like potatoes, onions (to inhibit sprouting), wheat flour (to control insects) and spices (to minimize microbial load) are approved for irradiation however as yet none are available in Canada due to manufacturers' concerns for negative public opinion etc. Irradiation is the only known way to eliminate completely E. coli 157:h7 raw bacteria in meat. Irradiated foods are available in 42 countries around the world including the USA. It is sanctioned by the WHO.
3. Morbidity and mortality from food borne illness is by far the greatest danger in associated with our food today. Food safety techniques like irradiation are crucial to help keep pathogens out of the food system. As in all food processing there is some nutrient loss associated with irradiation however irradiated foods are comparable, nutritionally and otherwise with their fresh, frozen or canned counterparts.
Some good web references may be found at:
http://cpma.ca/english/irradate.htm (produce marketing site)
http://vm.cfsan.fda.gov (US government food safety info site)
Elizabeth Smith, RD
Community Food Advisor Program Specialist
Agriculture and Rural Division, OMAFRA
1 Stone Rd., W 3rd floor SE.,
Guelph ON N1G 4Y2
elizabeth.smith at omafra.gov.on.ca
>>> "NAME "Martha"" <MMUNZGUE at ACD.MHC.AB.CA> 01/19/00 08:51pm >>>
Currently, irradiated food caries a symbol indicating that it has been
irradiated. Apparently the law that requires such labelling is being
questionned, and there is some concern that the labelling of irradiated foods
will no longer be required in the future. I have two questions:
1. Is there anyone else who is concerned about the removal of the labelling
requirement for irradiated food?
2. Is there anything about irradiated foods that we should avoid?
3. Is the nutritional quality of irradiated foods comprimized?
(woops that's three questions!)
Martha Munz Gue, Bsc(HEc), MEd.
Medicine Hat College
299 College Drive
Medcine Hat, Alberta
Canada T1A 3Y6
mmunzgue at acd.mhc.ab.ca
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