Red meat is the latest of several foods approved by the federal government for irradiation. Over the years, the government has approved the technique for a variety of purposes. For meats, separate approval is required from both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
and spices for sterilization. Irradiation of fruits and vegetables to control insects and increase shelf life also receives the government's blessing.
1997: The FDA grants approval of irradiation of fresh and frozen meat products, including beef, lamb and pork.
1999: The Food Irradiation Coalition, a group of food industry trade associations, health organizations, academic and consumer groups, files a petition asking the FDA to extend the use of food irradiation to ready-to-eat meat and poultry products, and fruit and vegetable products. To date, the extension has not been granted.