The Food and Drug Administration approved a food-additive petition for an irradiation process that can be used on all animal feed and feed ingredients, as a means of reducing the risk of bacterial contamination.

The FDA Web site says this process is intended to reduce the foodborne pathogens that may be in these feeds. Irradiation has been shown effective in reducing bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli.

Irradiation has been approved for a variety of human food, including spices, meats and fruits and vegetables. 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, says FDA.

The rule will now be published in the Federal Register for a 30-day comment period before going into effect.