food irradiation

Canada recently (finally) approved the use of irradiation to safeguard fresh and frozen ground beef. The United States has allowed its use for that purpose (and many others) since 1999. And over 60 countries world-wide also permit the use of this safe deterrent for foodborne illness. According to Health Canada (their version of the FDA), irradiation is permitted only on potatoes, onions, wheat, flour, whole wheat flour, spices and dehydrated seasonings, and now on...

An overwhelming body of scientific data indicates that irradiated food is safe, nutritious, and wholesome. Health authorities worldwide, including leading national and international scientific organizations, have based their approvals of food irradiation on the results of sound scientific research.

Irradiation increases the safety profile and the availability of a variety of foods. The safety of food irradiation has been studied more extensively than that of any other food preservation process. As is true of other food processes, irradiation can lead to chemical changes in food.

Radiolytic products (compounds formed by radiation), are similar to compounds formed by heat treatment. None of these products, in the amounts found in irradiated foods, has been demonstrated to...

First Edition, October 1982

Second Edition (revised and updated), July 1985

Third Edition (revised and updated), December 1988

Fourth Edition (revised and updated), March 1996

Revised and updated by Paisan Loaharanu, M.S. International Consultant Former Head Food and Environmental Protection Section Joint FAO/IAEA Division, Vienna, Austria


New York, NY June 19, 1998. The American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) today announced its support for the use of irradiation as a fruit and vegetable quarantine process and applauded the planned construction of an irradiation facility near Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii.

It is important for consumers to understand that food irradiation is a safe process,