Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Information Alert--Irradiated Beef


Nutrition Services Division

Program: Food Distribution Program

Date: March 2005

To: Food Distribution Program Recipient Agencies

Attention: Food Program (or Service) Director
Subject: United States Department of Agriculture Irradiated Commodity Ground Beef
Reference: Management Bulletin 04-402

In school year 2005-06, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be offering irradiated commodity ground beef to recipient agencies in two forms:

  • Irradiated Beef 40 (Commodity Code A579)
  • Irradiated Beef Patties (Commodity Code A578)

As part of the 2002 Farm Bill, Congress directed the USDA to permit the use of approved food safety technologies for commodities purchased for the federal feeding programs. Irradiation is one of those approved technologies. Irradiated commodity ground beef is now available in addition to non-irradiated ground beef. Irradiated food products distributed to recipient agencies are labeled with a symbol or other printed notice that indicates that the product was irradiated and will be prominently displayed in a clear and understandable format on the container.

Section 118 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 includes instructions for irradiated food products distributed to the federal school meal programs. The guidelines for recipient agencies are as follows:

  • Irradiated food products are not to be co-mingled with food products that are not irradiated.
  • Irradiated food products are to be labeled as irradiated for consumers.
  • Agencies that offer irradiated food products are encouraged to offer alternatives to irradiated food products as part of the meal plan.

Additionally, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is encouraging recipient agencies to conduct informational and educational activities so that they may make an informed choice on whether or not to order irradiated ground beef as part of their food safety interventions. The FNS Food Distribution Irradiation Home Page located at Irradiation Requirements in "The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004" External link opens in new window or tab. "Frequently Asked Questions," press releases, notices about USDA's plans and policies for purchasing irradiated meat, and links to other federal Web sites offering information on irradiation.

If you have any questions or are unable to access the information on the Web site, please contact Amy Bell, commodity consultant, at 916-322-5051, 800-952-5609, or abell@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Food Distribution Program | 916-324-7132
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, June 4, 2024
Related Content
  • Guidance, Manuals, and Resources
    Resources and information regarding the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Distribution Program requirements and operations.
Recently Posted in Nutrition
  • Webinar-Expanded Geographic Preference (added 10-Jun-2024)
    This web page provides registration information on the webinar titled Partners Webinar on the Expanded Geographic Preference Option in the Final Rule, provided by the USDA’s Farm to School Team.
  • South American Meat Inc. Recalls Frozen Raw Beef (added 06-Jun-2024)
    South American Meat Inc., recalled approximately 20,111 pounds of various eligible frozen raw beef products that were not presented to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service for import reinspection.
  • Farm to Summer Celebration Week 2024- Reminder (added 04-Jun-2024)
    The F2Summer Celebration Week is a recognition program for summer meal program operators that complete three elements: 1) Taste, 2) Teach, and 3) Connect during the designated week of June 17–21, 2024.
  • Summer EBT 2024 Plan of Operations and Timeline (added 04-Jun-2024)
    Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (S-EBT) 2024 Plan of Operations and Management has officially been approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service and the customer service helpline for households has been released.
  • April 23, 2024 Tuesday at 2 Town Hall Resources (added 03-Jun-2024)
    The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division hosted the monthly Tuesday @ 2 School Nutrition Town Hall webinar April 23, 2024.