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Health Canada weighs up ground beef irradiation

By Joe Whitworth+

Last updated on 31-May-2016 at 16:00 GMT2016-05-31T16:00:55Z

Minced beef. Picture: Istock/cynoclub
Minced beef. Picture: Istock/cynoclub

Health Canada is looking at the possibility of allowing fresh and frozen raw ground beef to be irradiated.

Canadians will be able to comment on the proposal during a period of 75 days in spring 2016.

Onions, potatoes, wheat, flour, whole wheat flour, and whole or ground spices and dehydrated seasonings are approved for irradiation.

“The proposed amendments would allow, but not require, the beef industry to use irradiation as a tool to improve the safety of their products,” said the agency.

“Like all other irradiated foods, irradiated ground beef would need to be clearly labelled as such in accordance with the existing labelling requirements set out in regulations.”

Irradiation is the process of exposing food to a controlled amount of energy called "ionizing radiation," according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

It is said to reduce bacteria and other microorganisms that may be present.

There are three different types allowed: Gamma rays, X-rays and electron beam radiation.

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