The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted approval to use ionizing radiation to reduce harmful bacteria in meat and poultry products.
The process would also extend the shelf life of meat and poultry, but the meat industry might not be keen on adopting the technology because of consumer attitudes.
Canada conducted most of the research and development of ionizing radiation for foods, but the Atomic Energy Corporation of Canada was never able to persuade the food manufacturers and processors to use the technology.
A requirement that irradiated food be labeled was the main holdup. Most imported spices are irradiated, but not labeled as having had the treatment, and there is no evidence of consumer concern.
Advocates of irradiation claim it could eliminate harmful bacteria and therefore be far more effective than any process currently in use by the meat and poultry industries.