Food (Safety) Fight
By: richard raymond
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Irradiate This

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(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)

"Irradiated poop, is still poop." These are words spoken by a consumer advocate in opposition to irradiating meat. "Irradiation is a better answer," are words written by Robert Zimbelman in response to last week's blog on test and hold.


FSIS convened a public meeting last September on what action should be taken in response to a petition from the American Meat Institute to have FSIS recognize the use of low penetration and low dose electron beam irradiation on the surface of chilled beef carcasses as a processing aid.


At that meeting, the opponents to the already approved and used high dose, penetrating irradiation used to sterilize ground beef (so we can eat it pink in the middle if we choose ) were asked to carefully evaluate the pros and cons to this proposed application, keeping in mind that lives could be saved and beef made safer IF low dose irradiation were used as an additional intervention but NOT as a substitute for a comprehensive food safety plan at slaughter facilities.

This would NOT guarantee sterility, not by a long shot; but it would reduce the pathogen load substantially, thus allowing the other proven interventions a better chance at further reducing the pathogen count AND reducing the chances the grinders, who were the subject of last week's blog, do not receive contaminated product from their source. Not to mention reducing food borne illnesses.


Part of the debate is whether or not the scary Radura symbol would need to be on the label for non-penetrating irradiation. And part is whether the source facilities would see this new tool as something that would cover up a less than stellar process to prevent contamination.


What I would like to hear today is what did the consumer advocates finally decide as to their position? Where is FSIS at in responding to the AMI petition and how do the large slaughter facilities feel about the allegation they would just get sloppy? And anything else you want to add, of course.

5/26/2009 11:54 AM 


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