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    FDA Considers Alternative Terms for Irradiation

    WASHINGTON - U.S. food companies can now seek federal approval to avoid using the word "irradiation" on labels of foods treated with the disease-killing process, and instead use language such as "cold pasteurization," the Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday.

    WASHINGTON - U.S. food companies can now seek federal approval to avoid using the word "irradiation" on labels of foods treated with the disease-killing process, and instead use language such as "cold pasteurization," the Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday.

    Currently, foods treated with the technology must carry labels saying either "treated with irradiation" or "treated by radiation." They must also bear a special symbol, known as the radura, which consists of green petals in a broken circle.

    Some food makers that want to use radiation say consumers interpret the radura symbol and the word "irradiation" as a food safety warning. Critics say the industry is trying to use euphemisms to hide that their products were irradiated.

    In its industry guidelines, the FDA said any company could apply to revise its irradiation labels as long as the new label is not false or misleading.

    In its petition, a food company must submit consumer research that shows a comprehension of the proposed label. The FDA said it will either accept or deny the application within six months.

    An FDA spokeswoman told Reuters the agency was expected to publish proposed changes to the current labeling requirements soon.

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