Agency approves sale of irradiated ground beef
The federal government has approved the sale of ground beef that has been treated with radiant energy similar to X-rays.
Health Canada says irradiation can reduce levels of harmful bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella that could be in the meat.
It also says irradiation of fresh and frozen raw ground beef can prevent premature spoilage.
“Health Canada developed the new regulation after conducting a thorough assessment and concluded that irradiation is a safe and effective treatment to reduce harmful bacteria in ground beef,” the department said in a release Wednesday.
“Irradiation is an optional tool that the food industry can use to treat certain foods to maintain quality or enhance safety.”
Under the new regulation, irradiated ground beef products must be labelled as such and include the international symbol on packaging. The symbol is usually green and resembles a plant within a circle.
Health Canada noted that the United States has permitted the irradiation of ground beef products since 1999. Canada’s beef cattle industry has been asking the Canadian government to approve ground beef irradiation since 1998.
Irradiation is already used in Canada to treat potatoes, onions, wheat, flour, spices and some seasonings.
Mark Klassen, a spokesperson for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, said it’s good news for consumers and beef producers.