STC Number - 52

Measures on food treated with ionizing radiation

Maintained by: European Union
Raised by: United States of America
Supported by:
First date raised: September 1998 G/SPS/R/12, paras. 37-38
Dates subsequently raised: July 2001 (G/SPS/R/22, para. 127)
Number of times subsequently raised: 1
Relevant documents: G/SPS/N/EEC/61, G/SPS/GEN/265
Products covered:
Primary subject keyword: Food safety
Keywords: Food safety; Human health
Status: Not reported
Date reported as resolved:

Extracts from SPS Committee meeting summary reports

In September 1998, the United States sought clarification on the EC measure on food and food ingredients treated with ionizing radiation. The United States was taking similar steps towards recognizing that this technology could play a role in ensuring the wholesomeness and safety of food, and had sent official comments to the European Communities. However, the United States emphasized that the list of products provided in an annex to the EC directive should be expanded to cover other food products such as pork, beef, poultry, fruits and vegetables. The United States also requested explanation of how the approval process for treatment facilities worked. The European Communities indicated that the US suggestions would be forwarded to the competent EC services.
In a document introduced in July 2001, the United States reported that two EC directives on food irradiation had been adopted in 1999 (G/SPS/GEN/265). So far, only dried aromatic herbs, spices and vegetable seasonings had been included in the positive list. One of the directives required that the Commission draft a proposal by 31 December 2000. The Commission had published a consultation paper, describing a possible strategy for expanding the positive list. After considering comments, the Commission would submit the paper to the Council and the European Parliament. The United Stated had sent comments on the consultation paper in January 2001, requesting that all foods which received a favourable opinion from the Scientific Committee for Food be included in the positive list. The United States had also requested information on how additional foods could be added to the positive list.