FAQ

How are radiation technologies applied in food and agriculture?

Answer

In the field of crops and diseases of plants irradiation is extremely useful. Food security concerns every one and strict sanitary and phytosanitary regulations exist for trade with country acceptance Irradiation is currently the best available technology suitable for treating raw and partially raw food. It leaves no residue, does not change the taste, colour, or smell of the food, nor does it make food radioactive.

Background

Radiation offers a useful method for crop preservation and control. Radiation is an efficient means to optimise the use of fertilisers. Radiation is also used to protect plants from pests as scientists use radiation to induce a genetic malformation in pests which destroy their ability to reproduce when released into the natural environment. In this way man can successfully limit the number of pests and disease carrying insects. Similarly, irradiation can be applied in crop selection to meet climatic conditions.
Food safety concerns everyone. International trade in food commodities is governed by standards to limit microbial contamination and insect infestation and consignments. It will be rejected if standards are not met. Irradiation is a safe, proven technology that destroys harmful bacteria and other food pests. It is rapidly gaining worldwide acceptance because it meets the strict sanitary and phytosanitary regulations that govern food trade. Consumers in many countries are now choosing to purchase irradiated food because they accept that it is safer for their families than non-irradiated food. Food is irradiated for the same reason that milk is pasteurized to make it safe.
When food is irradiated it passes through an enclosed chamber where it is exposed to ionizing energy. This penetrates the food and destroys harmful organisms without cooking or otherwise altering its physical or chemical properties. For this reason, irradiation is currently the best available technology suitable for treating raw and partially raw food. It leaves no residue, does not change the taste, colour, or smell of the food, nor does it make food radioactive.
 
Reference: IAEA booklets
Loading