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Food Irradiation by Lilia M. Santiago FST 490 What is food irradiation? Process in which food products are exposed to a controlled amount of radiant energy such as gamma rays or electron beams (Morehouse, 1998) Why irradiate foods?

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food irradiation

Food Irradiation


Lilia M. Santiago

FST 490

what is food irradiation
What is food irradiation?
  • Process in which food products are exposed to a controlled amount of radiant energy such as gamma rays or electron beams

(Morehouse, 1998)

why irradiate foods
Why irradiate foods?
  • To kill pathogenic bacteria such as E.coli: 0157, Campylobacter, Salmonella, Clostridium perfringens
  • To control insects and parasites
  • To reduce spoilage by increasing shelf life
  • To inhibit ripening and sprouting
radiation sources
Radiation Sources
  • Radionuclide or radioactive materials that give off ionizing gamma rays
    • Cobalt-60
    • Cesium-137
  • Machine sources of ionizing radiation
    • Electron beam accelerators
    • X-rays generators
history of food irradiation
History of Food Irradiation
  • 1905 Scientists receive patents to use ionizing radiation to kill bacteria in foods. 
  • 1920s French scientists discover irradiation preserves foods.
  • 1921 U.S. patent is granted for a process to kill Trichnella spiralis in meat using X-rays.
  • 1940s U.S. Army begins testing irradiation of common foods.
  • 1958 The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is amended and defines sources of irradiation for using in processing food.
  • 1963 Irradiation is approved by the U.S. government to control insects in wheat and wheat powder.
  • 1964 Government approves irradiation to extend shelf life of white potatoes.
  • 1966 The U.S. Army and USDA petition FDA to approve irradiation of ham.  
  • 1970s NASA adopts irradiation to sterilize food for astronauts.

(Iowa State University, University Extension)

history of food irradiation6
History of Food Irradiation
  • 1980 USDA inherits the U.S. Army's food irradiation program.
  • 1983 Spices and dry vegetable seasonings approved for irradiation to kill insects and bacteria.  
  • 1985 Irradiation in very low doses is approved to control Trichinella in pork.

(Iowa State University, University Extension)

regulations of food irradiation
Regulations of Food Irradiation
  • FDA 21 CFR 179
    • Proposal rule-February 14, 1984 (49 FR 5714)-fruits and vegetables
    • Final rule-April 18, 1986 (51 FR 13376)
    • 1992-approves irradiation for poultry
regulations of food irradiation8
FDA –Beef, pork, veal, lamb and other red meats

Proposed rule-Federal Register of August 25, 1994

(petitioned by Isomedix, Inc).

Final Rule-Federal Register of December 3, 1997

Regulations of Food Irradiation
regulations of food irradiation9
Regulations of Food irradiation
  • USDA-FSIS-refrigerated and frozen uncooked meat, meat by products and other meat products
    • Proposed Rule-Federal Register, February 24, 1999

(64 FR 72150)

    • Final Rule-Federal Register, December 14,1999
cfr part 179
CFR Part 179
  • Part 179 - Irradiation in the production, processing and handling of food
  • Subpart B--Radiation and Radiation Sources  §179.21 - Sources of radiation used for inspection of food, for inspection of packaged food, and for controlling food processing.   §179.25 - General provisions for food irradiation.   §179.26 - Ionizing radiation for the treatment of food.   §179.30 – Radio frequency radiation for the heating of food, including microwave frequencies.   §179.39 - Ultraviolet radiation for the processing and treatment of food.   §179.41 - Pulsed light for the treatment of food.
  • Subpart C--Packaging Materials for Irradiated Foods  §179.45 - Packaging materials for use during the irradiation of prepackaged foods.
fda usda work together
FDA & USDAwork together
  • FDA approves the rules and regulations
  • USDA establishes standards
labeling regulations
Labeling regulations
  • Radura logo and statement
    • “Treated with irradiation” OR “Treated by irradiation”
labeling regulations13
Labeling regulations
  • Additional information that can be added to the package:
    • “treated with irradiation to inhibit spoilage”
    • “treated with irradiation instead of chemicals to control insect infestation”

(Iowa State University, University Extension)

labeling regulations14
Labeling regulations
  • Packaged foods
  • Bulk containers of unpackaged foods
  • On placards at the point of purchase (for fresh produce)
  • Invoices for irradiated ingredients
  • Products sold t food processors

(Iowa State University, University Extension)

packaging material
Packaging Material
  • Final rule on February 16, 2001
  • Approved packaging materials are listed on 21 CFR 179.45
  • X-ray and electron beam sources do not induce any radiolysis products in polymers that could migrate to food
  • Safe to use

FSIS-February 16, 2001

what foods are currently irradiated
What foods are currently irradiated?
  • Wheat
  • potatoes
  • flour
  • spices
  • tea
  • fruits and vegetables
not good
Not Good!
  • Irradiation cannot be used for all foods :
    • Dairy Products
    • Peaches
    • Nectarines
why irradiation is considered a food additive
Why irradiation is considered a food additive?
  • According to the definition of food additive (21 U.S.C. 321(s)) a source of radiation used to treat food is defined as a food additive.
  • Why? Because it can affect the characteristics of any food
approved dosages by fda usda
Approved Dosages by FDA & USDA
  • Not to exceed 1 kGy
    • To control insects, arthropods and to inhibit maturation of fresh foods
  • Not to exceed 3 kGy
    • Poultry
  • Not to exceed 4.5 kGy
    • Refrigerated and frozen red meats
  • Not to exceed 10 kGy
    • Dehydrated enzymes
  • Not to exceed 30 kGy
    • Spices and seasonings
fda evaluation
FDA Evaluation
  • FDA considerate and studied these four broad areas before approval:
    • Microbiological safety
    • Radiological safety
    • Toxicological safety
    • Nutritional adequacy
where in us and other countries foods are currently irradiated
Where in US and other countries foods are currently irradiated?
  • US
    • Florida, Illinois, New York, California, Nebraska, Iowa
    • American Spice Trade Association
      • 100 million pounds
  • Japan, Russia, Belgium
  • Canada, Cuba
publix to offer irradiated frozen ground beef chicken

Publix To Offer Irradiated Frozen Ground Beef, Chicken

Retailer takes steps to fight food-borne illness

LAKELAND, Fla., Sept. 18, 2002 — Early next year consumers will find new products in Publix's frozen meat cases when the company introduces New Generation irradiated ground beef patties, boneless chicken breasts and chicken tenders. In addition to these frozen items, Publix will also consider offering fresh products in the future.

pictures of irradiated food

Pictures of Irradiated Food