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African Journal of Biotechnology

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Food irradiation: Applications, public acceptance and global trade

HA Mostafavi, H Fathollahi, F Motamedi

Abstract


Food irradiation is the treatment of food products by a definite kind of energy. The process involves exposing the packed or bulked food to the rays of the sun. Food irradiation processing that entails combating post-harvest losses, curtailing food-borne disease and overcoming quarantine barriers has been pursued since the mid-50s. The scientific basis and technological adaptation of the process have been well established more than any other post-harvest food processing techniques. In 1981, the FAO/IAEA/WHO Joint Expert Committees on the wholesomeness of irradiated food (JECFI) concluded, “the irradiation of any food commodity up to an overall average dose of 10 KGy presents no
toxicological hazard”. The benefits of irradiation technology in addressing post-harvest food problems are, in some cases, unique and can improve the quality of a number of food products by eliminating the risk of pathogenic contaminants. The potential of this technology has been well perceived in recent years in the wake of food-borne disease caused by pathogenic organisms. In fact, many parts of the world are considering food irradiation as a technological saviour in finding a suitable solution for the problems caused by pathogens in food. Irradiation can be regarded as a useful tool to attain food security in the 21st century. Many consumers have misconceptions about the technology and suppose that it makes food radioactive. But, when the method is explained to them they become normally more in favor of it. Over 50 countries have regulatory approvals in place for irradiation of one or more food products. 30 countries are practically applying this technology for a number of food items.



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