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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 http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/2004-07-22.pdf provides "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:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, July 20, 2020
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