The government will allow food producers to start zapping fresh spinach and iceberg lettuce with just enough radiation to kill E. coli and other dangerous germs, a key safety move amid increasing outbreaks from raw produce.

Irradiated meat has been around for years, particularly ground beef. But food companies long worried that zapping leafy greens with X-rays or other means of radiation would leave them limp.

The Food and Drug Administration has determined that modern irradiation techniques kill food-poisoning germs without compromising the safety or nutrient value of raw spinach and lettuce. Its new rule takes effect Friday.