Food Irradiation Updates

Published by Ronald F. Eustice and sponsored  by GRAY*STAR Inc.
March  2014
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.
New food products are entering commercial markets in the United States with increasing frequency. Recently I made visits to two major retail outlets and found clearly labeled irradiated fruit in the produce department. Approximately 40 million pounds of irradiated produce are marketed annually in the US and increasing rapidly. Prestigious companies such as Melissa's offer irradiated fruits.
Team Genesis, a group of companies and individuals with shared vision are working hard to expand the use of irradiation of food not only in the US but throughout the World.  As a major part of that effort, an improved website, has been created to provide authoritative information about the irradiation of food products.
Food irradiation; A "work in progress,
Irradiated Fruit Available Nationwide in USA
Beef Recalled in Texas Brookshire's, Krogers, Walmarts and Super 1 Foods Due to E. Coli
FDA Issues Final Rule on Approval of Irradiation of Spinach and Iceberg Lettuce
Dozens of new Salmonella cases confirmed; Linked to Foster Farms chicken
Sri Lanka's first Gamma irradiation facility opens
The US has the most advanced commercial food irradiation program in the world.  Two new irradiation facilities have opened in 2013. Some of the items that are irradiated are oysters and exotic produce. More than 250 million pounds of irradiated food is consumed annually. This includes approximately 170 million pounds of spices, 15-18 million pounds of ground beef (fresh and frozen), 40 million pounds of irradiated produce as well several million pounds of other food products. 
Prestigious retail stores such as Wegmans and Omaha Steaks have successfully marketed irradiated ground beef for over a decade. Both companies have expanded their irradiated product line.  All non-cooked ground beef sold by Schwans and Omaha Steaks is irradiated. One of the best selling products from Schwans is their irradiated ground beef. Omaha Steaks has recently expanded their list of irradiated beef items because they know it is safer. 

Feature Article...


"Irradiation destroys essential vitamins and other nutrients."


This statement is incorrect. Although irradiation can reduce some vitamins and other nutrients, it does not destroy them nor significantly alter the amount of nutrients relative to the total diet of the consumer.

Learn more here.....


Food irradiation; A "work in progress," Bryan Salvage, Meat &; (February 12, 2014): 

CHICAGO: Although experts say it's technically impossible to produce a bacteria-free, null fresh-meat supply, industry continues to tirelessly research new and emerging strategies to reduce bacteria as much as possible. And industry has come a long way in recent decades in developing effective on-farm and in-plant food-safety interventions.

Some of the most common on-farm interventions used today by the US meat and poultry industry are vaccines and probiotics - probiotic bacteria are harmless, beneficial and compete with pathogens to reduce or prevent their colonization of the gut, according to the American Meat Institute Foundation (AMIF). Common in-plant interventions include hide washes, sanitary hide removal, carcass washes/hot water washes, steam vacuums, thermal treatment /steam pasteurization, acidified sodium chlorite, lactic acid wash, lactoferrin or calcium hypochlorite, chlorine dioxide, and bacteriophages (safe, harmless viruses that can attack and destroy targeted bacteria).

Meanwhile, although not much appears about it in the media these days, meat irradiation continues being utilized as an effective intervention in the US. I've long been a proponent of food irradiation -particularly irradiating ground beef - after learning about its benefits first-hand from some of its leading experts back in the early 1990s.  

Irradiated Fruit Available Nationwide in USA; (February, 2014):


The availability of irradiated fruits at US grocery stores has increased dramatically during the past three years. In many cases, irradiation is required by USDA/APHIS for importation of certain tropical fruit to eliminate the possibility of undesirable pests from entering the US. The picture at left shows irradiated Mexican guavas in the produce department of a major US retailer. The radura symbol is clearly visible on the shipping package as well as on the fruit. It is estimated that 15,000 metric tonnes (35,000,000 pounds) of irradiated produce is marketed in the United States annually. This volume includes mangoes from India, purple sweet potatoes from Hawaii, lychees, mangosteens and rambutan from Thailand, guavas and mangoes from Mexico, Dragon fruit from Vietnam and grapes from South Africa.

Beef Recalled in Texas Brookshire's, Krogers, Walmarts and Super 1 Foods Due to E. Coli 

(February 8, 2014)

FORT WORTH, TEXAS: PFP Enterprises of Fort Worth, TX, recalled approximately 15,865 pounds of beef products on February 3rd because they may be contaminated with E. coli O103, E. coli O111, E. coli O121, E. coli O145, E. coli O26 and E. coli O45.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) stated they had reason to believe that the following retail location(s) received the beef products that have been recalled by the Texas-based company:

The recall affects Krogers, Walmart and Brookshires in Texas as well as Brookshire Food Stores, Krogers, Walmart, Super 1 Foods in Louisiana and Brookshire Food Stores in Arkansas are also Impacted. Learn more here... 

FDA Issues Final Rule on Approval of Irradiation of Spinach and Iceberg Lettuce; Food Chemical News (February 25, 2014):

Lettuce WASHINGTON: Five years after consumer groups asked for a hearing on FDA's decision to allow irradiation for leafy greens, the agency responded by denying the requests and defending the science supporting its 2008 final rule.

The then-National Food Processors Association (now Grocery Manufacturers Association) filed a food additive petition in 2000 seeking FDA approval through a food additive petition to irradiate a range of foods, including fruits and vegetables. In 2007, the petition was amended to focus on fresh iceberg lettuce and spinach to control for foodborne pathogens and extend shelf life to a maximum dose of 4.0 kiloGray (kGy).
FDA Re-affirms Irradiation Safety.
FDA Final Approval Irradiation of Spinach & Iceberg Lettuce 
Dozens of new Salmonella cases confirmed; Linked to Foster Farms chicken; Barf Blog (March 4, 2014):
Lynne Terry of The Oregonian reports that while federal officials declared the salmonella outbreak tied to Foster Farms chicken over in mid-January at 430 cases, dozens of new illnesses have been confirmed.The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that officials in five states had tracked 51 new cases since Jan. 16: Arizona (3), California (44), Hawaii (1), Tennessee (1) and Utah (2).
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control said in the update that federal officials detected one of the outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg in raw chicken wings purchased at a store on Jan. 27. It did not name the store. A number of states, including Oregon, are participating in a federal program designed to track the development of antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria by buying meat in grocery stores and running tests. That program is how Oregon has tracked Foster Farms salmonella outbreaks for a decade.

In the update on this this current outbreak, the CDC said one of the strains was found in raw chicken from the home of an ill person. Officials do not know whether that chicken had been stored for a long time in the freezer. 
Sri Lanka's first Gamma irradiation facility opens; Times Online; February 18, 2014:

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA - Sri Lanka's first Multi-purpose Gamma Irradiation Facility (MGIF) was declared open at Biyagama Investment Zone February 17th with the participation of the Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapaksa as the chief guest, local media reported.

The Atomic Energy Authority-run facility adjoining the Free Trade Zone in Biyagama will provide facilities to sterilize medical equipment and medicine, plant quarantine services and to conduct experiments.

Agriculture and medical equipment manufacturers, rubber gloves manufactures, exporters, patients and the general public will benefit from this facility completed at a total cost of Rs.760 million.

The applications of MGIF include radiation sterilization of medical products, food irradiation, polymer modification (Hydro-gel films for wound dressing) and radiation vulcanization of Natural Rubber Latex (RVNRL).

The Atomic Energy Authority provided the technical assistance under the Technical Cooperation programme of the International Atomic Energy Agency to set up the facility, the report said. Read more here Irradiation Sri Lanka... 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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