The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is not moving forward on a meat industry request to approve carcass irradiation as a food safety technique, according to Meatingplace.
The American Meat Institute (AMI) sent a letter to the agency’s deputy under secretary for food safety, Jerold Mande, in September requesting the meeting to discuss the status of the irradiation proposal the group submitted to the USDA four years ago.
USDA officials told leaders from the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP) this week that irradiation is off the table for now.
“The issue is not currently moving forward as [the Food Safety and Inspection Service] believes the petitioner has several concerns that need to be addressed,” according to the executive summary of the meeting by NAMP.
“The reason carcass irradiation is an issue is because the request is for it to be classified as a processing aid (no labeling requirement),” NAMP said in the summary. “FSIS stated that, because of other recent events, processing aids in general are under greater scrutiny right now.”
Former under secretary of food safety Dr. Richard Raymond expressed disappointment in the USDA’s decision on his blog Friday, “People are freaking out over the recent revelation that some beef products were being treated with ammonia as a processing aid to help reduce E. coli counts.”
“So now the USDA does not have the spine to take on the consumer groups over another processing aid that would save lives,” wrote Raymond.