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SterilTR
Industrial Technologies
SterilTR Industrial Technologies

Food pasteurisation sanitization and preservation

Food irradiation is a physical method of processing and preserving food similar to methods such as refrigeration or freezing, canning and heat treatment.

What is food irradiation?

Irradiated foods are safe to eat. An expert committee jointly organized by the World Health Organization (WHO), Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded that the irradiation of food causes no toxicological hazards and introduces no nutritional or microbiological problems.

Food irradiation is a physical method of processing and  preserving food similar to methods such as refrigeration or freezing, canning and heat  treatment.

In food  irradiation, the food is exposed,  either prepacked or in bulk, to carefully controlled amounts of  ionizing radiation in an enclosed and heavily shielded area for a specific time to achieve certain desirable objectives. The radiation sources that can be used in irradiating food are gamma rays from cobalt-60 or cesium-137;  X-ray machines with energy up to five million electron volt (MeV), or electron accelerators with energy up to 10 MeV.

What Foods Have Been Approved for Irradiation?

• Beef and Pork

• Poultry

• Molluscan Shellfish (e.g., oysters, clams, mussels, and scallops)

• Shell Eggs

• Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

• Lettuce and Spinach

• Spices and Seasonings

• Seeds for Sprouting       (e.g., for alfalfa sprouts)

 

Why Irradiate Food?

Irradiation can serve many purposes.

• Prevention of Foodborne Illness – irradiation can be used to effectively eliminate organisms that cause foodborne illness, such as  Salmonella and Escherichia coli (E. coli).

• Preservation – irradiation can be used to destroy or inactivate organisms that cause spoilage and decomposition and extend the shelf life of foods.

• Control of Insects – irradiation can be used to destroy insects in or on tropical fruits imported into the United States.  Irradiation also decreases the need for other pest-control practices that may harm the fruit.

• Delay of Sprouting and Ripening – irradiation can be used to inhibit sprouting (e.g., potatoes)  and delay ripening of fruit to increase longevity.

• Sterilization – irradiation can be used to sterilize foods, which can then be stored for years without refrigeration

 

How can irradiated foods be identified in the market?

Standard logo for irradiated food commodities. A typical food irradiation plant Irradiated foods cannot be recognized by sight, smell and taste. The only sure way for consumers to know if food has been processed by irradiation is for the product to carry a label that clearly states the treatnment in words, a symbol, or both. Labelling practices can be expected to vary from country to country, but countries that follow the guidelines developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission will label all foods that have been irradiated with the words “Treated by irradiation” or “Treated with radiation” or an equivalent statement.

 

 

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