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Health Canada to propose the sale of irradiated ground beef in June

What is irradiated beef and is it safe?
WATCH: Health Canada say irradiation will improve the safety of beef products, but what exactly is irradiated beef?

EDMONTON – Health Canada will propose regulatory changes to Food and Drug Regulations next month that would allow the sale of irradiated ground beef in Canada.

A webpage on the department’s website states the proposed amendments would add fresh and frozen raw ground beef to a list of foods that are already permitted to undergo radiation treatment.

It says the purpose would be to would allow, but not require, the beef industry to use irradiation to “improve the safety of their products.”

Health Canada spokeswoman Maryse Durette says the proposed regulations for ground beef will be announced in June in the Canada Gazette and that a public consultation period will follow.

Industry groups in Canada have sought irradiation for over a decade as a way to prevent the spread of E. coli and other dangerous bacteria, but negative public reaction to it has slowed progress.

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Health Canada earlier proposed to permit the sale of irradiated ground beef in 2002, but according to the web page it was never finalized “due to mostly negative stakeholder reaction.”