Health Canada will be proposing regulatory changes to food and drug regulations next month that would green-light the sale of irradiated ground beef in this country.
The department’s website says the proposed amendments would add fresh and frozen raw ground beef to a list of foods that are already permitted to undergo radiation treatment.
Industry groups have sought irradiation for over a decade to help prevent the spread of E. coli and other dangerous bacteria, but negative public reaction has slowed progress.
Irradiation involves bombarding meat with radiant energy similar to X-rays.
Critics claim it produces toxic compounds, like benzene, and reduces the nutritional value of food.
They also say it changes the taste of meat.
The cattlemen’s association first launched an application to use irradiation for ground beef in 1998.
Its updated application in 2013 to irradiate all kinds of beef followed a tainted beef recall at what was then the XL Foods plant in southern Alberta.
In 2012, 18 people in British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador got sick from E. coli linked to beef from the facility, leading to the largest meat recall in Canadian history.