UK watchdog reveals illegal irradiation of some foods
LONDON - A wide range of dietary supplements sold in the UK, along with some prawns, shrimps, herbs and spices, have been irradiated in breach of food regulations, a survey by the food watchdog showed last week.
Irradiation, which exposes foods to controlled ionising radiation to kill micro-organisms, has been accepted scientifically as a processing technique, but some consumer groups have raised fears about foods subjected to any radiation.
The survey, by Britain\'s Food Standards Agency, showed that 42 percent of dietary supplement samples tested were being sold illegally.
It also found five out of 202 prawn and shrimp samples were irradiated, as was one of 203 herb and spice samples.
Only correctly labelled irradiated herbs and spices can be retailed in the UK under the country\'s existing licensing system, but irradiation is not allowed for the other products.
The Agency said that companies selling the illegally irradiated products had been alerted and told to remove the affected products from sale.
\"These results for dietary supplements are not acceptable. There is no food safety concern, but they were being sold illegally,\" said Jon Bell, the FSA\'s director of food policy.
\"Consumers should not be misled in this way and the Food Standards Agency has made it clear that the industry must take action to remove affected products,\" he added.
The FSA said that while its survey could not be used in prosecutions, local authorities could carry out further sampling that could lead to legal action.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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