Food Law News - UK - 1997
22 January 1997: FOOD IRRADIATION - Proposed Amendment to Regulations
MAFF Letter, 22 January 1997
Control of Irradiation - Proposed Amendment to Regulations
A number of changes are being proposed to the Control of Irradiation Regulations 1990 (No 2490). The proposed changes are mainly of an administrative nature concerned with the licensing system although their is also a slight relaxing of the limits of irradiation caused by the use of surveillance systems.
The proposals are the following:
- Use of Surveillance Equipment: In line with recent advances in surveillance equipment used for security purposes it is proposed to amend the exemption to permit the use of neutron equipment operating up to 15 MeV and 0.01 Gy respectively. For all other purposes the doses specified remain at 5 MeV and 0.5 Gy. This is in accordance with the conclusions of the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes. The Committee concluded that the doses of radiation to the consumer of foodstuffs scanned by surveillance equipment, giving absorbed doses of less than 0.01 Gy to food, were very low, and that devices operating at energies up to 15 MeV provided no significant food safety concerns provided that the absorbed dose was less than 0.01 Gy.
- Provision for continuous licensing: At present licences to irradiate food must be renewed after 3 years. It is proposes that in future once a licence is issued, it will run continuously until such time as the licence is withdrawn or suspended. The requirement for regular inspections during the period of licence remains unchanged.
- Move to generic terms: The Regulations contain seven permitted categories of food which may be irradiated. At present only one licence is issued for a list of herbs and spices within the category of spices and condiments. Companies need to apply to the licencing authority each time they want to add further foods to an existing list within a category. It is proposed that in future licences would cover one or more generic categories of food allowing the holder to irradiate any foods within the category(subject to any constraints imposed by the licence)
- Revised Charges: Certain reductions in charges for licencing are proposed.
Comments on the proposals are requested by 24 March 1997.
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