The Promise, History and
Potential for Irradiation
Food born illness is one of the
largest public health problems in the world today. Studies
by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that food born diseases caused by
pathogenic bacteria, such a Salmonella, Campylobacter, E coli, and Vibro Trichinella, and
other parasites cause an estimated 9000 deaths annually. Medical costs and productivity
losses also are staggering. The US Department of Agriculture estimates that annual medical
and lost productivity costs associated with selected food born pathogens are between $5
and $17 billion. The enormous tragedy is that these losses are preventable when current
knowledge and proven technologies are applied.
Contamination can occur at any
point in the food supply chain, which extends from the farm or field to the table. The
critical link is processing. Ideally, the safety of all food distributed by food
processors should be assured. Several measures are available to do so, but none have the
potential to be more effective than
Food irradiation, like
pasteurization of milk can prevent countless infections because it destroys the pathogens
that cause the illness. Irradiation is not a panacea, but it can be substantially
beneficial in the efforts to eliminate food borne illness.
Patented in the 1930s
Irradiation was first patented for
food in 1930 by a French scientist. Research intensified in the United States in the 1940s
when irradiation was considered as a means for providing safe food for troops in remote
areas. Astronauts have been eating irradiated food since 1972, when Apollo 17 crew
selected ham as the first irradiated flight meal. Hospital patients with immunodeficiency
problems also benefit from irradiated food because it helps to reduce the risk of
Countries including the United States, have approved the use of irradiation processing for
a wide variety of food products.
There is a worldwide research base
of 9000 references for food irradiation that cover all aspects of safety and wholesomeness
for a wide range of produce, grain, fish, meat and poultry. -
In 1980, a joint expert committee
from World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reviewed in detail all the accumulated data on
food irradiation from the past 40 years. The Expert Committee concluded that irradiation
up to an overall dose 10 (kGy) kilogrey presents no toxicological hazard and introduces no
special nutritional or microbiological problems, thus establishing the wholesomeness of
irradiated food up to an overall average absorbed dose of 10 kGy.
With all the
endorsements and proof on the safety of food irradiation it is only a matter of time
before more irradiation facilities will be built.
When that time comes Iotron will be able to offer food irradiation at one of its facilities now or
can build a dedicated facility for that use.
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IOTRON TECHNOLOGIES INC.
1425 Kebet WayPort Coquitlam, BC, Canada V3C 6L3
Phone: 604-945-8838Fax: 604-945-8827
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