Published by Ronald F. Eustice and sponsored  by GRAY*STAR Inc.
April 2017
Food Irradiation Update is published monthly by Ronald F. Eustice, a food quality & safety assurance consultant based in Tucson, Arizona. He can be reached at:
and at 612.202.1016
The Seventh Annual Phytosanitary Irradiation Forum at Chapman University was a huge success. Nearly 100 participants from throughout the world were in attendance. The conference helped advance the primary goal to increase awareness and understanding of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment and thus to facilitate the use of the technology to overcome barriers to trade. 
 
For your reference, presentations may be found online linked to the 2017 agenda at:     
The tentative dates for the PI Forum in 2018, March 20-21. Mark your calendars and plan to attend.

IN THIS ISSUE
Featured Article: Irradiation in Turkey; By Mehmet Yalcintas:
Gamma Pak in Istanbul, Turkey was established in 1994.

From Mehmet Yalcintas: There are two industrial irradiators in Turkey,  Gamma Pak , TAEA. Both facilities process food.  Gamma Pak located in Istanbul, was established in 1994 and uses a turnkey Nordion automatic tote box irradiator (Model JS 9600) with a maximum capacity of 3,000,000 curies. The installed capacity is 1,100,000 curies. Gamma Pak does 58% sterilization, 40% food irradiation and 2 % cross-linking.  The data shows statistics for last five years (2012-2016) done by Gamma Pak and TAEA separately and together.  All numbers are in kilograms and in 2016, 7800 metric tons of food was irradiated in Turkey of which 76% was processed by Gamma Pak.  TAEA has a small irradiator which  0.2 MCi of cobalt -60 ( Maximum capacity is 1 MCi) is loaded and the only food it processes are spices. Gamma Pak's loaded activity is 1.1MCi ( Maximum Capacity is 3 MCi )  and does many food items in seven groups on the chart.

FOOD IRRADIATION IN TURKEY 

The Turkish food irradiation regulation issued in November 1999 gives clearances on class basis under seven groups and not by individual item.That  gives an excellent  market environment for food irradiation to grow.

At Gamma Pak, 40 percent of their business is irradiation of food

MYTH of the MONTH: "All foods should be irradiated." By Russell Stein
Myth: "All foods should be irradiated."
 
Reality:
This notion is ill-conceived. Irradiation is a useful tool that can be used to improve the safety, quality and/or distribution of many foods.  Irradiation should be used by food companies when the benefits of its use are greater than the associated costs.
 
Both heating and irradiation have chemical, physical and/or biological effects on different materials.   We can, and do, employ both of these forms of energy to provide specific improvements to various food products.
  
Heat can be used to pasteurize certain foods. But all foods do not need pasteurization to be safe to eat. It can be used to cook food, but many of our foods are preferred uncooked. It can be used to bake bread, but we do not survive on bread alone. There is no reason to use heat processing on all food.

The irradiation process can be used to pasteurize certain foods. It can be used to delay ripening in certain foods. It can be used to kill insect pests in certain foods. For some foods it can be used to decrease flatulence. However, the specific effects are for certain foods and not common to all food. Similar to heat, there is no reason to irradiate all food.
  
Irradiation is a tool that can be employed on certain foods for certain advantages. Often there are competitive techniques that may be employed. For example, both heat and radiation can be used to kill microorganisms in food. However there are technical differences between the two processes. Irradiation is a cold process allowing product to be disinfected without cooking. The heat process also cooks the product.
  
Often this cooking is viewed as a benefit such as with canned peaches. For some foods the side effect of cooking might be viewed as a negative. Spinach salad uses raw spinach. Personally, it makes me a bit queasy imagining a spinach salad made from canned spinach. And yet, there is a separate market for canned spinach. By using a different process, the same vegetable is made into two different products. To reduce the threat of pathogens in spinach, we think of heat for canned...irradiation for fresh. For the record, I like fresh spinach and canned spinach, fresh peaches and canned peaches. Heck, I even like fresh, cooked succotash, but I love eating succotash right out of the can...cold!
  
The individual companies of the food industry determine if there is an advantage for each of their products to be heated, or irradiated, or processed in any other way. They weigh the advantages of each process against the costs of using that process. And the market determines if there is a willingness to accept, and pay for, these advantages.

The only process common to all food is that of digestion.
Link to Article ...
Russell Stein 
GRAY*STAR, Inc.
Also in the News: US to import Vietnamese fresh star apple fruit; VietNam News (April 12, 2017):
Irradiated Star Apple from Vietnam will soon enter the US market
The US Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has officially allowed the import of fresh star apple fruit from Việt Nam into the US.
According to the notice, which was published recently by the US Federal Register, the decision took effect on January 19.
"Based on the findings of a pest risk analysis, which we made available to the public for review and comment through a previous notice, we have determined that the application of one or more designated phytosanitary measures will be sufficient to mitigate the risks of introducing or disseminating plant pests or noxious weeds via the import of fresh star apple fruit from Việt Nam," APHIS said.
Earlier, APHIS solicited comments on the notice for 60 days, ending September 19, 2016. It received one comment till the given date, from a manufacturing company.
One measure identified in the pest risk analysis is that all consignments of fresh star apple fruit from Việt Nam imported into the US will be required to be treated with irradiation prior to arrival in the country. The commenter argued that the fruit should also be permitted to be treated after its arrival in the US.
However, APHIS rejected this proposal, saying that in its request, the national plant protection organisation (NPPO) of Việt Nam specifically stipulated that the fruit is subject to a pre-clearance programme within Việt Nam.
In considering this request, APHIS determined that Việt Nam possesses sufficient infrastructure to meet an in-country treatment requirement.
In addition, the NPPO also proposed that the fruit would be individually wrapped in plastic prior to shipment to reduce the risk of post-treatment re-infestation. This proposal was approved as APHIS determined that such individual wrapping provides equal phytosanitary protection to insect-proofing cartons and pallets.
According to the notice, Vietnamese fruit will follow to the general requirements listed on the US Code of Federal Regulations' article 319.56-3, which are applicable on the import of all fruits and vegetables.

The fruit will also be subject to several phytosanitary measures, such as fresh star apple fruit must be imported as commercial consignments only, each consignment of fresh star apple fruit must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate issued by the NPPO of Việt Nam, each consignment of fresh star apple fruit must be treated in accordance with 7 CFR part 305, and each consignment of fresh star apple fruit is subject to inspection upon arrival at the port of entry to the US.

According to the Vietnamese Commercial Office in the United States, the country is considering the import of fresh mango from Việt Nam.

Star apple fruit is the fifth Vietnamese fruit being exported to the US. The other fruit are dragon fruit, rambutan, litchi and longan. - VNS
Irradiated Indian Mangoes Heading to Australia; The Times of India  (April 10, 2017):
Australia will soon receive mangoes from India. 
Irradiation is a mandatory phytosanitary treatment. 

NASHIK: The Lasalgaon irradiation centre will process mangoes for export to Australia this season. According to norms, irradiation of mangoes is mandatory before it is exported to Australia. Irradiation is also mandatory before export to USA. Irradiation centres at Lasalgaon and Vashi are already processing mangoes to be exported to USA.

At present, there are three irradiation centres in the country of which two are in Maharashtra - one at Lasalgaon and the other at Vashi in Mumbai. The third one is located in Bengaluru.

The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (Barc) has its irradiation centre at Lasalgaon in Nashik district. Vashi-based private firm Agrosurg Irradiators has been commercially operating the Lasalgaon irradiation facility as per its agreement with Barc. Last year, the Mahrashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) set up its own irradiation centre at Vashi in Mumbai.

The source added that Australia had given its nod to mango export from India in June 2016. But, the export could not take place as the mango season had almost ended by then.

An official said, "Last year, the Lasalgaon irradiation centre had processed 567 metric tonne of mangoes. We now plan to process around 700 metric tonne here. We have already processed 7.5 metric tonn, which have been exported to USA so far. The mango season will continue till June end.
Link to Article .... 
Also in the News: India expected to exported 2,000 tonnes of mangoes to USA; FreshPlaza (April 10, 2017):
Record exports of irradiated mangoes expected this year from India.
Mangoes from farms across Karnataka, India will soon arrive on the dinner tables of US residents, with the state planning to export close to 2,000 tonnes. This is the first time such a large consignment of the fruit is being exported to the US.

The Karnataka State Mango Development and Marketing Corporation Limited (KSMDMC) is all set to send them by air from April 15 onwards.

Besides the US, the Kollapur mango may also soon be headed to Australia, and the UK as well after the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) in India made the decision to expand exports from the region. The current plan is to export 50 tonnes of mangoes to the three countries.

The APEDA is making all arrangements for the export of mangoes. With this decision, good days appear to be imminent for the Kollapur mango farmers. Kollapur is historically renowned for mango cultivation and produces varieties including Banginapalli, Baneshan, Rasaalu and others.

Mangoes are already exported to Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai and Bengaluru. After examining mango gardens of at least 400 farmers the APEDA decided to finally ship the mangoes overseas due to the increased demand.
Also in the News: India asks US to relax norms for greater access to mangoes; PTI (April 12, 2017):
India is asking US for easier market access.
NEW DELHI: India has asked the US to relax certain norms related to irradiation for greater access to homegrown mangoes in the American markets. 

Several other agri and non-agri products face non-tax barriers in the US markets.
  
The phyto-sanitary (related with plants) norms imposed by the US for mangoes from India requires irradiation treatment and inspection prior to the shipment.

"This time consuming and costly process of certification makes Indian mangoes less competitive in the US market," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.

She said that the government has requested the US to "relax these norms".
India has also sought the option of irradiation at source or upon arrival in the US to provide flexibility for Indian exporters, she said.

Besides, the country has proposed that US should allow National Plant Protection Organisation to carry out pre-shipment inspection of mangoes to save cost, a process which is currently conducted jointly by India and the US, she added.

Similarly, the US has imposed certain irradiation treatment conditions for pomegranate exports from India.

The minister said America has not granted market access to the Indian grapes either.
"The US has granted market access to Indian Litchis after the performance of cold treatment. However, no Litchis have been exported in the last two years," she said.
This is because of APEADs inability to organise a training programme for their officials on cold treatment monitoring.
Iran nuclear industry on right track: Salehi  (April 11, 2017):
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) chief Ali-Akhbar Salehi.
  
TEHRAN: Salehi said Iran's nuclear industry is on track during a ceremony on the 11th anniversary of National Nuclear Technology Day, attended by President Hassan Rouhani, Vice President for Scientific Affairs Sorena Satari, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. 

He noted that the AEOI's achievements in the calendar year 1365, which ended on March 20, has been much greater compared to the year 1394. During the ceremony, a stone centrifuge and high-temperature condensate pump were unveiled. Three nuclear projects were also launched on Sunday.

The nuclear projects included a center for the production and development of nuclear medicine in Alborz Province; another designed to host industrial irradiation in Qazvin Province; and one for the crushing and concentration of uranium ore in Yazd Province.

Salehi, nuclear physicist, also unveiled AEOI's plan to turn Iran into the Middle East's hub for production of nuclear medicine.
Two new units will also be constructed at the site of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, he explained.

Rouhani also hailed nuclear achievements in the past year, saying nuclear technology is "a necessity for the country."

Iran had opted for "the straightest and least costly direction to stabilize and continue to exercise its nuclear rights," he said, pointing to the country's diplomatic efforts that led to the landmark nuclear accord with six world powers in 2015.
Following the nuclear deal, the international cooperation on developing Iran's peaceful nuclear program has significantly hiked.

In line with boosting its nuclear technology, Iran on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hungary after several rounds of consultations between the two countries.

Iran and Russia also plan to sign an MOU on the development of peaceful nuclear cooperation, a source from the Russian Foreign Ministry was quoted by Sputnik after Rouhani's meeting with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Also in the News: South African Sharon Fruit season underway; FreshPlaza (April 12, 2017):
Irradiated persimmons from South Africa will soon be on US grocery store shelves.
Climate and weather, with plenty of sunshine, have combined to lift prospects for an excellent 2017 Sharon Fruit season from South Africa.

{Editor's Note: South African persimmons imported into the United States must be irradiated.}

The industry, which was founded in South Africa's Southern Cape region more than 20 years ago, has in recent times grown in importance as the only Southern Hemisphere supplier of Sharon Fruit to Europe and the United Kingdom. In recent years the industry has also increased exports to the Middle East, the Far East, the USA and Canada, as well as into Africa.

"However, Europe and the UK still remains our biggest market and we are keen to consolidate our position there," says Pine Pienaar, Chief Executive of Sharon Fruit in South Africa.

Mr Pienaar says the central pack house, Arisa, which is located at Buffeljagsrivier in the South Cape, is expected to receive around 5,500 tons of fruit this season. 'We will export more than 80% of the fruit but will also supply increasing volumes to the local market."

South African Sharon Fruit is becoming an increasingly important part of the MOR International strategy to lengthen the season and compliment the Northern Hemisphere production. "When you start a venture of this nature to introduce a whole new fruit category into a new country it takes time for growers to adapt," says Meir ben Artzy, senior executive at MOR International. "We believe that we have settled nicely in South Africa and established a solid production base. The summer has been relatively hot and dry and this will further boost fruit quality this year."

"Both inside South Africa and externally we find that our customers are increasingly looking forward to the South African season. Our marketing programmes are focused on developing long term relationships with our customers and keeping excitement growing for our annual programme from South Africa," says Mr Ben Artzy.

This year's harvest commenced in the second week of April, with the first sea shipments after Easter. Limited volumes will be airfreighted from this week onwards. Regular shipments will take place till early June, with the last sales in July. In all some 4,600 tons will be exported.

South Africa is the only country in the Southern Hemisphere producing Sharon Fruit. The business in South Africa was established in the mid-1990's by MOR International who identified the Southern Cape as the ideal climate for growing the fruit. Sharon Fruit, although from the Persimmon family, is a unique fruit and is a branded product.

The production is located mainly in the Southern Cape around Buffeljagsrivier, Swellendam and Bonnievale, with limited orchards further to the west.
Link to Article .... 
Radurafoodirradiation.org is an excellent source of information on food irradiation.

Food Irradiation Update is published by Ronald F. Eustice and sent to you through the sponsorship of GRAY*STAR, Inc., the manufacturer of the Genesis Irradiator. 
 
 
Food irradiation is a cold pasteurization process that will do for meats, produce, and other foods what thermal pasteurization did for milk decades ago.
Ronald F. Eustice, Consultant
Phone: 612.202.1016
reustice@gmail.com