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Ionizing Radiation Now Approved for Shell Eggs.

In July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of ionizing radiation on eggs in the shell to reduce Salmonella levels. The new regulation allows a dose of up to 3 kilograys (kGy). Data in the petition did, however, show that under the testing conditions, radiation near the maximum allowed dosage affected the color of the yolk and the viscosity of the egg. Nevertheless, doses of up to 3 kGy raise no safety concerns and will be allowed.

The extent to which this process eliminates Salmonella in eggs will depend on the Salmonella levels in individual eggs and the dose that is absorbed by each egg. At doses likely to be practical, Salmonella levels may be reduced 10- to 10,000-fold, depending on the distance of the egg from the radiation source. It is unlikely that a 5-log reduction would be achieved by this process alone. Elimination of Salmonella in all eggs cannot be guaranteed--at least on the basis of current knowledge--but the total level of Salmonella in eggs will decrease substantially, and the fraction of eggs containing viable Salmonella also should decrease.

FDA's final rule amending the food additive regulations to allow safe use of ionizing radiation for the reduction of Salmonella in fresh shell eggs was published in the Federal Register of July 21, 2000. The irradiated eggs must be labeled in accordance with the Code of Federal Regulations (21 C.F.R, 179.26).
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Article Details
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Publication:Journal of Environmental Health
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 1, 2000
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