The Food and Drug Administration is amending the food additive regulations to provide for the safe use of ionizing radiation for control of foodborne pathogens and extension of shelf-life in fresh iceberg lettuce and fresh spinach. This action is in partial response to a petition filed by The National Food Processors Association on behalf of The Food Irradiation Coalition.
Food irradiation has been used on certain spices for years and has been approved as a means of pest control on certain fruits and vegetables for some time. The technology will serve as a food-safety intervention to help reduce consumer risks related to antimicrobial contamination. The leafy greens industry took a major hit when FDA issued a nationwide recall of bagged spinach in September 2006 due to E. coli O157:H7 contamination. To view a copy of the final ruling, which will become effective upon publication in the Federal Register, click here.