Food Irradiation Updates

Published by Ronald F. Eustice and sponsored  by GRAY*STAR Inc.
February  2014
Newsletter Title Month Year
Food Irradiation Update is published monthly by Ronald F. Eustice, a food quality & safety assurance consultant based in Minneapolis and Tucson. He can be reached at: and at 612.202.1016.
Exciting events are taking place in the world of food irradiation. New food products are entering retail and foodservice markets in the United States with increasing frequency. Irradiation of fresh fruit and oysters are especially bright spots.
In this issue, we introduce Team Genesis, a group of companies and individuals with shared vision have joined together to expand the use of irradiation of food. 
As a major part of that effort, an improved website, has been created to provide authoritative information about the irradiation of food products.
Mississippi company uses irradiation to remove bacteria from oysters
Western Australia reviews mango importation requirements
CDC investigates Salmonella Heidelberg outbreak in Tennessee
Food Irradiation facts and figures
Shellfish Growers Come Out of Cold for Warm-Water Problem
Three sick with Campylobacter in Oregon, Coos Bay Oyster recalls shucked and in-shell oysters

TEAM GENESIS is a new Working Group tasked to minimize barriers, both real and perceived, that have encumbered the use of irradiation on perishable foods.

Currently the team's efforts are two-fold: To act as guides to those in the food industry who are interested in using irradiation; and, to work with government regulators to minimize regulatory impediments that have inadvertently hindered the use of this technology. Read more here...




"It would take a huge dose of radiation, much more than is needed to actually make food radioactive."


This statement is incorrect. Food will not be made radioactive no matter how "huge" the dose.


Mississippi company uses irradiation to remove bacteria from oysters; Mississippi Business Journal; by Lisa Monti (January 24, 2014)

PASS CHRISTIAN, MISSISSIPPI: Crystal Seas Seafood in Pass Christian is processing a small portion of their oysters with irradiation to eliminate health risks posed by the naturally occurring Vibrio bacteria in Gulf waters that is highly concentrated during summer months.

The resulting new product, dubbed the Crystal Clear Oyster, is processed live and some still in the shell at the $5 million food irradiation facility at Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Crystal Seas is a partner in the Gateway America facility which has been operating since last spring. Read more about Crystal Clear oysters here: 

Western Australia reviews mango importation requirements; ABC Rural (Australian Broadcasting Company) (January 24, 2014):

PERTH: Western Australian mango growers are pleased with the Department of Agriculture's decision to review the current quarantine procedures for imported fruit.

Mango growers are particularly worried about the arrival of mango seed weevil, which they say would destroy access to overseas markets.

This follows a meeting held in Perth between Agriculture Minister Ken Baston and mango growers, as well as professor Jonathon Majer who's been hired by the farmers as a quarantine consultant on this issue. Professor Majer says the meeting was a step in the right direction.

"He's basically said he will look into the whole situation and see what can be done about it," he said. However Professor Majer says growers also want to see a suspension of fruit that isn't irradiated from infested regions while the regulations are being reviewed.

"For every day that goes by, while these mangoes come in from the Northern Territory, there is a chance that the [mango seed] weevil may spread while we're investing whether pest risk analysis is appropriate or not," he said.

ATLANTA - A total of nine inmates have been infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Heidelberg reported at a correctional facility in Tennessee, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

CDC noted that 19 people in 12 other states were infected with the same strain of the pathogen. The agency's investigation is ongoing to determine if the cases are related to the outbreak at the correctional facility.

The outbreak in Tennessee has been linked to mechanically separated chicken produced by a Tyson Foods Inc. facility in Sedalia, Mo. So far, only two inmates have been hospitalized. Epidemiological and traceback investigations by the US Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) linked the illnesses to mechanically separated chicken produced by Tyson Foods. FSIS began investigating the outbreak being notified of a cluster of Salmonella Heidelberg illnesses on Dec. 12.Read more here...

Food Irradiation facts and figures; Food Safety News (January 13, 2014):

SEATTLE: In October 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a  draft risk assessment on the levels of contaminants in spices. The report made headlines nationwide for including the finding that 12 percent of spices imported to the U.S. were contaminated with everything from insects and rodent excrement to human hair and staples.

Another major finding was that 6.6 percent of imported spices, which make up 80 percent of spices consumed in the U.S., were contaminated with Salmonella during a three-year study from 2007 to 2009. Other pathogens found during sampling included Clostridium perfringens, Shigella and Staphylococcus aureus.

Increasingly in recent years, more spices consumed in the U.S. are undergoing irradiation treatment to eliminate risks associated with microbial contamination. The process involves exposing food to bursts of gamma rays, X-rays or electron beams, and may also be  
Shellfish Growers Come Out of Cold for Warm-Water Problem;  Vineyard Gazette (January  29, 2014):
MARTHA'S VINEYARD, MASSACHUSETTS: With their crops safely immersed in the cold salt water of January, Katama Bay oyster growers and Island shellfish biologists met Monday with state officials to talk about ways to guard against another bacteria outbreak like the one that forced a temporary shutdown of their business late last summer. In early September, Katama Bay was closed for almost four weeks after two people reported being sickened by oysters that were traced to the bay. The cause was Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp), a bacterial pathogen commonly found in warmer waters. "This is an emerging issue," said Julian Cyr, director of policy and regulatory affairs for the state DPH. "We definitely saw a problem with vibrio in the commonwealth from the end of June through August."  Read more here...

Three sick with Campylobacter in Oregon, Coos Bay Oyster recalls shucked and in-shell oysters; Barfblog (February 3, 2014): 

COOS BAY, OREGON- Coos Bay Oyster Co. is recalling oysters over a food poisoning outbreak that has sickened at least three people in Oregon.

The company, based in Charleston, Oregon said it is pulling all of its shucked oysters and in-shell oysters sold to retail stores and wholesalers in Oregon and California. Read more here.... is an excellent source of information on food irradiation.
Food Irradiation Update is being sent to you by Ronald F. Eustice and is sponsored by 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 





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