Food Irradiation

Food irradiation is a process of treating a food to a specific dosage of ionizing radiation for a predefined length of time. This process slows or halts spoilage due to the growth of pathogens. Further applications include sprout inhibition, delay of ripening, increase of juice yield, and improvement of re-hydration.

Food irradiation acts by damaging the target organism's DNA beyond its ability to repair. Organisms can no longer successfully continue the process of cell division. The target organism ceases all processes related to maturation or reproduction. At high enough doses the target organism does not survive. Irradiated food does not become radioactive, as the particles that transmit radiation are not themselves radioactive. Still there is some controversy in the application of irradiation due to its novelty, association with the nuclear industry, and the potential for the chemical changes to be different than the chemical changes due to heating food (as ionizing radiation produces a higher energy transfer per collision then conventional radiant heat).

Food irradiation is currently permitted by over 50 countries, and the volume of food treated is estimated to exceed 500,000 metric tons annually worldwide; however, the extent of clearances is varying significantly, from a single item (spices) in the EU to any food in Brazil.

Irradiation is a more general term of the exposure of materials to radiation to achieve a technical goal (in this context "ionizing radiation" is implied). As such it is also used on non-food items, such as medical devices, plastics, tubes for gas pipelines, hoses for floor heating, shrink-foils for food packaging, automobile parts, wires and cables (isolation), tires, and even gemstones.

Read more about Food IrradiationProcessing of Food By Ionizing Radiation, Public Impact, Opinion, and Safety, Regulation of Food Irradiation in Consumer Products

Other articles related to "food irradiation, food, irradiation":

Walter M. Urbain - Career
... University where he taught physics and chemistry, and also focused his research on food irradiation ... Urbain's breakthrough findings led him to the forefront of food science, consulting on projects for the US government and acting as lead consultant to the International ... Urbain also helped kick start the food irradiation program at the United Nations, namely the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (W ...
Dancing Light - Activism
... of Energy's plans to build a demonstration irradiation facility in Gainesville, Florida ... the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to build a food irradiation facility in Gainesville, Florida, using radioactive caesium-137 ... of Energy stores of radioactive caesium-137 in a demonstration food irradiation facility ...
Regulation of Food Irradiation in Consumer Products - Other and International Regulation
... Thailand, India, and Mexico, have permitted the irradiation of fresh fruits for fruit fly quarantine purposes, amongst others ... the Codex Alimentarius Standard on Irradiated Food without any reservation or restriction i.e ... any food may be irradiated to any dose ...
Nuclear Technology - Civilian Uses - Food Processing and Agriculture
... In industrial and food applications, radiation is used for sterilization of tools and equipment ... An emerging use in food production is the sterilization of food using food irradiation ... Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation in order to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, viruses, or insects that might be present in the food ...

Famous quotes containing the words irradiation and/or food:

    You will see Coleridge—he who sits obscure
    In the exceeding lustre and the pure
    Intense irradiation of a mind,
    Which, with its own internal lightning blind,
    Flags wearily through darkness and despair—
    A cloud-encircled meteor of the air,
    A hooded eagle among blinking owls.
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    That food has always been, and will continue to be, the basis for one of our greater snobbisms does not explain the fact that the attitude toward the food choice of others is becoming more and more heatedly exclusive until it may well turn into one of those forms of bigotry against which gallant little committees are constantly planning campaigns in the cause of justice and decency.
    Cornelia Otis Skinner (1901–1979)