Published by Ronald F. Eustice and sponsored  by GRAY*STAR Inc.
February  2018
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 
Thank You! The January 2018 issue of Food Irradiation Update was very well received. In fact it had the highest readership of any issue of FIU ever published. Your positive comments and acknowledgements are much appreciated. It was especially gratifying to read the very positive comments that followed the transmittal of Food Irradiation Update by Seattle-based Food Safety News. Read more here...

Irradiation of food is gaining momentum every day. These are exciting time. Stay tuned!

Featured Article: Food Irradiation Technologies: Concepts, Applications and Outcomes; Royal Society of Chemistry (2018)
Food Irradiation Technologies is the most comprehensive book on food irradiation ever published. It is a "must read" for anyone interested in food irradiation.
Food preservation by irradiation is gaining recognition as a technology that is more environmentally benign than other current processes such as post-harvest chemical fumigation, it has less impact on thermally sensitive compounds than thermal decontamination technologies such as hot water or steam, and the technology is more accessible and cheaper. As the technical and economic feasibility, as well as the level of consumer acceptance, have increased its use has been growing fast.

Food Irradiation Technologies: Concepts, Applications and Outcomes (Food Chemistry, Function and Analysis)  1st Edition is now available.

This comprehensive book published by the Royal Society of Chemistry is a useful reference for food technologists, analytical chemists and food processing professionals, covering all aspects of gamma, electron beam and X-ray food irradiation, its impact on food matrices and microorganisms, legislation and market aspects. It is the first book to cover control and structural analysis in food irradiation and, being written by leading experts in the field, addresses the current global best practices. It contains updated information about the commercial application of food irradiation technology, especially regarding the type of radiation based on food classes and covers dosimetry, radiation chemistry, food decontamination, food quarantine, food processing and food sterilization. The editors of the book are Isabel C F R Ferreira, Amilcar L Antonio, Sandra Cabo Verde. The editors are on the faculty  Order your copy at

Ronald F. Eustice is the author of two chapters in this book. The chapters are Marketing and Consumer Acceptance of Food Irradiation  and Global Status of Food Irradiation. Eustice has been involved in the commercial introduction of irradiated foods since 1997 while he was serving as executive director, Minnesota Beef Council. During the past 20 years, Eustice has spoken at food safety conferences in more than 30 US states and ten countries regarding consumer acceptance of irradiated food in the marketplace. 
Contact Ronald Eustice at

MYTH of the MONTH: "All Foods Should Be Irradiated." By Russell Stein
"All foods should be irradiated."

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.
Russell Stein 
 FAO/IAEA YouTube Videos Available; Carl Blackburn (FAO/IAEA)
I love the January 2018 Food Irradiation Update newsletter - an excellent round up of progress for food irradiation.
I am sending a link to a very useful explanatory cartoon (2 mins and 59 seconds) to share with everyone. It was produced by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division in collaboration with participants of  Technical Cooperation Project in the Asia and Pacific Region - the objective being to consider food irradiation as a means of helping meet food security needs - especially with changing climates.
It is on YouTube and we encourage all to use and share, click on this link:
This new "infographic" is in addition to the successful one we published in 2015, still available here: 
These resources are there for people to use in their presentations and on their websites - so please encourage all your readers to watch, link and use.  (The "infographic" is available in the six official languages of the UN: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian).
Carl Blackburn   | Food Irradiation Specialist |
Food and Environmental Protection Section | Joint FAO / IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture |  Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications |
International Atomic Energy Agency  | Vienna International Centre, PO Box 100, 1400 Vienna, Austria   |
Email: | T: (+43 1) 2600-21639 | F: (+43 1 ) 2600-26007
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Australia: Uncooked prawn ban extended; (February 5, 2018): 
Irradiation is one of the most effective methods to ensure the safety of prawns and other crustaceans. It is now a requirement for import of prawns into Australia.
SYDNEY: THE ban on importing uncooked crustaceans, including prawns, from parts of Queensland has been extended to prevent white spot disease entering South Australia.

The disease was first detected on a number of prawn farms in the Logan River and Moreton Bay areas of South East Queensland in December 2016.

Any decapod crustaceans coming in from these areas must either be cooked or suitably irradiated prior to entering South Australia while high-value decapods such as crabs, crayfish, lobster and Moreton Bay bugs are considered low risk and are permitted subject to strict conditions.

Russia Considers Use of Irradiation of Meat Products; By Vladislav Vorotnikov (January 22, 2018): 
Irradiation has been used for more than 20 years to improve the safety of ground beef.
Russian scientists believe irradiation could be applied effectively in the domestic meat industry, while the country's nuclear corporation Rosatom has already developed commercial technology of ionizing radiation, which it is planning to promote to the international food market. 

Some meat and fish products, in particular canned food, can be treated with irradiation in small doses in order to extend their shelf life, a group of Russian scientists have determined. The country's leading nuclear institution, including Budker's Institute of Nuclear Physics and Obninsk Institute of Radiology, have conducted an experiment in which they have treated some food products with doses of radiation between 3 kGy (kilogray*) and 6 kGy.  {Editor's Note: In the US doses from 1.25 to 2.5 KiloGrays are commonly used to reach a five log (99.999% reduction in bacteria}. Such kind of exposure has been found to kill up to 99.9% of microorganisms on the products and, as a result, the shelf life of preserved meat, in particular, increased more than fourfold, from the standard 10 days to nearly 45 days, the scientists estimated. Also, use of the radiation has been found to be absolutely safe for end-consumers. Russian scientists also stressed that the taste of the product was not affected in any way. Russia adopted its first National State Standard, commonly known as GOSTs, on the treatment of food products with radiation in 2016. Since that time, such treatment has reportedly been used on some batches of grain, crops and species, but not products intended for human consumption

The Eighth Annual Chapman Phytosanitary Irradiation Forum moves to a new venue for 2018!
Hotel Centara Grand at Central Plaza Ladprao, Bangkok, Thailand
June 13-15, 2018
Organized in cooperation with the USDA, the International Irradiation Association (iia), the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology (TINT) and the Joint programme of the FAO/IAEA, the objective of this Phytosanitary Irradiation forum is to increase understanding of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment to enhance global trade, to prevent invasive pests and to foster dialogue.

Registration will be available at
Dr. Anuradha Prakash,
Yves Henon,
Carl Blackburn, 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