Food preservation using ionizing radiation. Academic Article uri icon


  • Irradiation processing has been researched extensively and is now in use worldwide for many food commodities. Irradiation has been successfully used to reduce pathogenic bacteria, eliminate parasites, decrease postharvest sprouting, and extend the shelf life of fresh perishable foods. Although food irradiation is widely accepted in world food markets, U.S. markets have been slower to accept the idea of irradiated food products. For fruits and vegetables, irradiation is not a cure for shelf life problems; cost and quality problems damage preclude its general use. It appears that the most likely use of irradiation in fruits and vegetables is as an insect control in those commodities for which there is no effective alternative method. For grains such as rice and wheat, irradiation has been used primarily to control insect infestation when insects have been shown to develop resistance to the traditional fumigation methods. Treatment of spices with irradiation doses of 10 kGy has proved to extend shelf life without causing significant changes in sensory or chemical quality. Higher doses that effectively sterilize spices, however, may cause undesirable chemical and sensorial changes. For meat, especially red meat, irradiation is considered a viable alternative in the effort to improve the safety of meat products. With time, the authors believe that economic realities and the technical superiority of irradiation for specific poultry products will lead to public acceptance of the process. Irradiation of seafood products is still being considered for approval by the USFDA, although it is currently used in Asian and European markets, especially for shrimp. It is our belief that scientifically based research in food irradiation and the positive results thereof will also prove economical in the twenty-first century. As we move to a more peaceful world with reduced threat of nuclear holocaust, these valid opinions will prevail and will overshadow the distortions and misinformation generated by the opponents of irradiation.

published proceedings

  • Rev Environ Contam Toxicol

altmetric score

  • 5.08

author list (cited authors)

  • Andrews, L. S., Ahmedna, M., Grodner, R. M., Liuzzo, J. A., Murano, P. S., Murano, E. A., ... Wilson, P. W.

citation count

  • 54

complete list of authors

  • Andrews, LS||Ahmedna, M||Grodner, RM||Liuzzo, JA||Murano, PS||Murano, EA||Rao, RM||Shane, S||Wilson, PW

publication date

  • January 1998