ENDORSES PROPOSAL TO REMOVE CURRENT GLOBAL IRRADIATION DOSE LIMIT & DISCARD
HEALTH & SAFETY REGULATIONS
Codex Committee on Food Additives & Contaminants is a committee of the Codex
Alimentarius Commission. The C.C.F.A.C
advises the Codex Alimentarius Commission in regard to food irradiation along
with other food additives and contaminants.
The Codex Alimentarius Commission, a joint body of the World Health
Organization and the Food & Agriculture Organization of the U.N., sets
the global Standards on food safety. These
Standards effect more than 160 nations, representing about 97 percent of the
world's population including Australia.
of Irradiation Dose Limit
C.C.F.A.C has endorsed the proposal to remove the dose limit for food irradiation
which, if approved, allows for foods to be irradiated to any levels
internationally. (Proposed Draft
Revision to the Codex General Standard for Irradiated Foods - Agenda Item 9a
(CX/FAC 01/11)). Currently the
maximum dose limit is 10 kiloGrays, equivalent to 330 million chest x-rays.
of Health and Safety Standards
this proposed amendment virtually every assurance that irradiated food will be
of good quality, be handled by trained workers, and be processed under safe and
clean conditions in government inspected facilities would disappear.
proposal confirms that irradiation will be used to mask filthy slaughtering and
food processing practices," said Wenonah Hauter, director of Public Citizen's
Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program.
"These antiquated ideas set back food safety more than 100 years, to a
time when people routinely died from eating contaminated food. It is an outrage of the highest order. People throughout the world have cause for great worry."
is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
If ANZFA approves food irradiation and the Codex endorsed proposal is
adopted, other WTO member countries with lower food health and safety standards,
and lower radiation safety standards, could challenge those of Australia by
claiming they are barriers to trade. If
the Dispute Settlement Body of the WTO agrees, Australia would be forced to
lower its standards or face trade sanctions.
proposal would amend the Codex's 22 year old food irradiation standard by
stating that food companies "should" rather than "shall"
comply with the Standards. Many of
the changes were proposed without any advance notice and approved at meetings
that were closed to the public.
the looser standards, irradiated food would no longer have to be:
- "of suitable quality"
- in "acceptable hygienic condition", or
- "handled .. according to good
food irradiation facilities would no longer have to:
- comply with "safety" and "good
- be staffed by "adequate, trained and competent
be licensed or inspected by government officials;
- or maintain certain records on radioactive
food irradiation would no longer have to be carried out "commensurate with
...... technological and public health purposes" or conducted "in
accordance with good radiation processing practice".
changes would place Australian food and nuclear safety regulations at great risk.
Among them are ANZFA, who regulates Australia's food health and safety
Standards; also the Radiation
Safety Act 1999, administered by the Queensland Department of Health (under
which Steritech's proposed radiation facility falls).
Codex Alimentarius Commission meets in Geneva July 2-7, 2001 and the proposal is
expected to be further debated at that time.
WRITING TO POLITICIANS AND ANZFA IT WOULD BE VERY IMPORTANT TO INCORPORATE THE
above information has been provided by Public Citizen's CMEP.
Contact: Mark Worth e-mail:
or phone 202
454 5123 (U.S.A.)
Source material for this page here