The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a final rule, effective April 14, 2014, amending its food additive regulations to allow the use of ionizing radiation  on crustaceans (e.g., crab, shrimp, lobster, crayfish, and prawns) to control foodborne pathogens  and extend shelf life.

In response to a petition first filed in 2001, FDA concluded that use of irradiation to treat  chilled or frozen raw, cooked or partially cooked crustaceans, or dried crustaceans, with or  without spices, minerals, inorganic salts, citrates, citric acid and/or calcium disodium EDTA used  in accordance with applicable laws and regulations, is safe, provided that the absorbed dose does  not exceed 6.0 kGy. At this dose, FDA notes, ionizing radiation will reduce but  not entirely  eliminate, the number of illness-causing microorganisms in or  on crustaceans. The agency also  observes that irradiation is not a substi- tute for proper food-handling practices and that crustaceans treated with ionizing radiation must  be stored, handled and cooked in the same way as non-irradiated foods. In forming its assessment,  the agency considered previous irradiation safety evaluations for other foods including poultry, meat, molluscan  shellfish, iceberg lettuce, and fresh spinach. See Federal Register, April 14, 2014.