FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE
Harmonization of EU rules on food irradiation is still at an initial stage and U.S. exporters of irradiated foodstuffs should check individual EU Member State legislation for compliance.
In February 1999, two directives on food irradiation were adopted. Member States had until September 2000 to implement these directives, implying that the marketing of dried aromatic herbs, spices and vegetable seasonings treated with ionizing radiation should be allowed throughout the EU. Labeling of the irradiated foodstuff will be required. The words "irradiated" or "treated with ionizing radiation" must appear on the label even if the irradiated ingredients used in compound ingredients constitute less than 25 % of the finished product.
U.S. exporters should check with the Member States where they are marketing their product to see if the new rules have already been implemented. Until the initial positive list is expanded, exporters should also check for any national rules restricting or banning irradiated foods or check national authorizations allowing irradiation of certain products in addition to aromatic herbs, spices and vegetable seasonings.
Directive 1999/2/EC required the
Commission to forward a proposal by December 31, 2001, to complete the positive
list of foodstuffs authorized for irradiation (to be adopted through the
co-decision procedure). Before submitting a proposal, the Commission
published on October 2, 2000, a
consultation paper inviting all interested parties to
submit comments on which foodstuffs should be allowed to be treated by ionizing
radiation. Based on these
comments, the Commission adopted on August 8, 2001, a
communication on foods and food ingredients authorized for treatment with
ionizing radiation in the Community.
|Framework Directive: Directive 1999/2/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the approximation of the laws of the Member States concerning foods and food ingredients treated with ionizing radiation (O.J. L 66 - 3/13/99)|
The framework directive outlines the marketing, labeling, import and control procedures and technical aspects of food irradiation. Annex I lists the conditions for authorizing food irradiation, annex II the sources of ionizing radiation and annex III explains the method to calculate the overall average absorbed dose.
|Implementing Directive: Directive 1999/3/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of a Community list of foods and food ingredients treated with ionising radiation (O.J. L 66 - 3/13/99)|
The implementing directive lists the foodstuffs authorized for irradiation treatment and the maximum radiation doses. So far, the list contains only one food category: "dried aromatic herbs, spices and vegetable seasonings".