Friday, August 22, 2008

FDA Allows Irradiation of Lettuce and Spinach

Today the Food and Drug Administration is amending its food additives regulations to allow food producers to irradiate fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce. The New York Times reports that this is the first time the FDA has allowed for the irradiation of produce at levels that will protect against illness.

You can read the FDA's Main Consumer Health Information Page for the agency's summary of its ruling. The ruling appears today in the Federal Register, which states that ionizing radiation will not only control food-borne pathogens but will also extend the shelf life of fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce. Anyone can send objections or requests for hearings on the ruling (Docket No. FDA–1999–F–2405) by September 22, 2008. To do this online, go to

If you would like to find more government and non-government resources dealing with the subject of food irradiation or food safety, see our Food Supply subject guide, which provides both national and international sources of information.

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