Australia to consider change to food irradiation rules

An application has been filed in Australia to amend the Food Irradiation Regulations.

The proposal seeks to raise the maximum allowable energy level for machines producing X-rays to irradiate food from 5 to 7.5 megaelectronvolts (MeV), as long as the X-ray targets are made of tantalum or gold.

According to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), the evaluation will not begin until October 2023, with a comment period scheduled for early 2024.

No changes to currently approved irradiable foods or conditions, including dose ranges, are required. Modifications include the delivery of radiation doses. Fresh foods, except dried legumes, legumes, nuts and seeds, can be treated with irradiation to kill pathogens that cause food poisoning. Irradiation does not make food radioactive.

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The application was created by Steritech. In 2021-2022, the company irradiated 7,777 tons of his fresh produce for export.

The company wants to make changes, among other things, to make food irradiation more efficient and reduce its reliance on the radioactive isotope cobalt-60. X-rays are produced only when needed, and the radiation source can be turned off when not in use.

Operating at 7.5 MeV instead of 5 MeV reduces processing time and increases throughput. According to the proposal, the turnaround time will be shortened and the food dosage uniformity will be improved.

According to Steritech, the change will increase the radiation throughput rate from 12 pallets per hour to 17 or 18 pallets per hour.

The United States, Canada, Indonesia, India and South Korea have already raised the maximum allowable energy for X-ray production to 7.5 MeV, Steritech said.

Food Service Regulations and Mollusk ML Updates
Meanwhile, the Food Standards Code has new elements for food service and retail businesses. It aims to strengthen food safety in these areas to protect consumers.

As part of the assessment, FSANZ consulted with stakeholders, including ways to improve food safety outcomes and gaps between current and proposed practices.

The new standard includes enhanced skills and training requirements along with key actions at key steps known to manage food safety risks. Standard tools incorporate food safety management best practices and national consistency to reduce foodborne illness.

Businesses have until December 8, 2023 to make changes. Implementation is supported by resources to improve food safety knowledge and culture. A new regulatory measure is the training of food handlers. Food Safety Supervisor; Evidence substantiating food safety control of critical processes.

Finally, Australian authorities are considering reviewing the maximum biotoxin level (ML) for bivalve molluscs.

The application, prepared on behalf of the Australian Shellfish Quality Assurance Advisory Committee, aims to harmonize the limits of diarrheal (DST) and paralytic shellfish toxin (PST) with Codex and New Zealand standards .

The current Australian ML on marine biotoxins in seafood was last reviewed between 1997 and 1999. Plans by the committee will affect okadaic acid and saxitoxin, with a public comment period he scheduled for early 2023.

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