The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued final rules amending food additive regulations pertaining to the use of ionizing radiation in the production, processing and handling of meat and poultry products. Promulgated at the request of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the rules took effect on November 30, 2012. FDA requests written objections or requests for a hearing by December 31.

The meat-product irradiation amendment would “provide for the safe use of a 4.5 kilogray (kGy) maximum absorbed dose of ionizing radiation to treat unrefrigerated (as well as refrigerated) uncooked meat, meat byproducts, and certain meat food products to reduce levels of foodborne pathogens and extend shelf life.” The poultry-irradiation amendment would “increase the maximum dose of ionizing radiation permitted in the treatment of poultry products, to include specific language intended to clarify the poultry products covered by the regulations, and to remove the limitation that any packaging used during irradiation of poultry shall not include oxygen.” See Federal Register, November 30, 2012.