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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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FDA Veterinarian Newsletter May/June 2001 Volume XVI, No III

On April 10, 2001, FDA approved a food additive petition for an irradiation process that can be used on all animal feed and feed ingredients, including pet treats, to reduce the risk of Salmonella contamination. Salmonella is a foodborne pathogen that may be present in these feeds.

Irradiation is a process whereby products are exposed to sources of ionizing radiation which cause chemical changes similar to other conventional cooking or preservation methods. It has been approved for use on a variety of human foods. Extending this process to animal feed and feed ingredients will not only increase the safety of the feed for the animals consuming it, but to people who handle animal feed and feed ingredients. Irradiation is a useful tool for reducing disease risk.

Irradiation treatment compliments, but does not replace, the need for proper food handling practices in the production, processing, and handling of animal feed and pet foods including treats. Pet owners still need to practice safe food handling practices after handling pet treats, including washing hands thoroughly in warm water and soap after any contact.

The petition was filed by Sterigenics International, of Fremont, California.