Health Canada will propose regulatory changes to the Food and Drug Regulations next month, which would allow the sale of irradiated ground beef in Canada. CTV News reports that the proposal would add fresh and frozen ground beef to a list of foods that are already permitted to undergo radiation treatment.
It says the purpose would be to allow, but not require, the beef industry to use irradiation to "improve the safety of their products."
Health Canada spokeswoman Maryse Durette says the proposed regulations for ground beef will be announced in June in the Canada Gazette and that a public consultation period will follow.
Health Canada has attempted to permit irradiation of ground beef before in 2002, but the effort was never finalized, largely due to poor public reaction.
"I think public perception has changed," says Mark Klassen, director of technical services with the Canadian Cattlemen's Association, based in Alberta. "When we ask Canadians if they think they should be able to purchase irradiated beef, they're accepting of it."