The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is suggesting changes to its labeling requirements for irradiated foods.

The new rule would require irradiated food to be labeled only when the irradiation process results in a "material change" in the product. This may include a change in the product's taste, texture, smell or shelf life.

The proposal also would allow the term "pasteurized" to be used to describe irradiated food provided the processor can illustrate that the irradiation process meets the "pasteurized" criteria outlined in the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. Companies would be able to petition FDA to use terms other than "irradiated" as well, reports

FDA is accepting comments on the proposed rule until July 3. This action is significant as some processors believe that the term "irradiated" is overly burdensome and confusing to consumers.