Food Irradiation Updates

Published by Ronald F. Eustice on behalf of the Food Irradiation Processing Alliance (FIPA) and the International Irradiation Association (iiA).
February  2013
During 2013, the volume of produce irradiated for phytosanitary purposes will increase dramatically thanks to the installation of several new irradiation facilities.
USDA Framework Equivalency agreements with nearly a dozen countries are helping to drive the demand for irradiation facilities. From Azerbaijan to Mexico and Vietnam and from Columbus, Indiana, Gulfport, Mississippi and Honolulu, Hawaii, food is being irradiated daily for food safety, phytosanitary and shelf-life extension purposes.
With increased availability of irradiation facilities, the market will grow and irradiated produce and meat will become more readily available in retail stores worldwide. 
As interest, public acceptance and consumer demand grow, a clear message will be sent to growers and marketers that irradiation is a valuable technology that will make our food safer, extend its freshness, eliminate unwanted foreign pests and protect the image of branded products. The Radura symbol should be viewed as a "mark of quality" and proudly displayed on packages and at the point of sale.
Ronald F. Eustice is a food quality & safety assurance consultant based in Minneapolis. He can be reached at: and at 612.202.1016.
Irradiation firm tests leafy greens for 'major' supplier
Sri Lanka to make major investment in food irradiation
Shelf life of agricultural products to be extended in Azerbaijan
Poultry leads to most food deaths; Leafy greens like spinach are the most likely culprit in foodborne illness...
The surprising foods that make people sick
Multi purpose gamma irradiation facility in Biyagama, Sri Lanka
Salmonella risks in beef lymph nodes
So God made a farmer!
 Irradiation firm tests leafy greens for 'major' supplier; The Packer; (January 17, 2013): 
CORAL BEACH, FLORIDA: A British Columbia company hopes to begin irradiating packaged leafy greens for a major U.S. food supplier within six months.

Tino Pereira, chief executive officer for Iotron Industries Inc., said client tests have been completed and the company is applying for certification from the Food and Drug Administration.

"We have a customer, but I can't name them yet," Pereira said.The 22-year-old Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, company expanded into the U.S. in March 2012 with a 54,000-square-foot facility in Columbus City, Indiana.

 Read more here...

Sri Lanka to make major investment in food irradiation; Sunday Leader (January 20, 2013):

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA: Irradiation for sterilization and preservation-particularly food items is an area the Sri Lanka Atomic Energy Authority (SLAEA) is currently pursuing.
"We shall be investing in a Rs. 600 million irradiation plant which will be imported from India and which will be installed by the middle of the year for this purpose," SLAEA Chairman Dr. R.L. Wijayawardana told this reporter. The monies will be released from the Consolidated Fund in Sri Lanka. Irradiation is a value addition, Dr. Wijayawardana said.
Read more here....
Shelf life of agricultural products to be extended in Azerbaijan;
I.Isabalayeva /Trend;(January 7, 2013):

BAKU, AZERBAIJAN: Extension of agricultural and other food products' shelf life will be possible in Azerbaijan starting in 2015, the director of the Institute of Irradiation of the Azerbaijani National Academy of Sciences Adil Garibov told Trend. He said, this will be possible following commissioning of the new sterilization device within joint project with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). This device will treat different products with gamma irradiation, thus extending their period of use.  

Meat and meat products, wheat, dried fruit, potatoes, wine, spices and other agricultural products can be treated with irradiation to improve safety, quality and extend shelflife.
Poultry leads to most food deaths; Leafy greens like spinach are the most likely culprit in foodborne illnesses, the CDC found: By Stephanie Armour at Bloomberg News (January 29, 2013)  

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Chicken, turkey and other poultry meat are responsible for more food-related deaths than any other items, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

Poultry caused about 19 percent of foodborne fatalities in the 10-year period through 2008, the CDC said in a study that marks the first time the Atlanta-based agency has estimated how many illnesses may be attributed to specific foods. Dairy accounted for 10 percent of deaths and vine-stalk vegetables such as peppers were responsible for 7 percent.

While fatalities are more common with meat, leaf vegetables such as spinach caused more illnesses than any other product and the second-most hospitalizations, after dairy. Large outbreaks during the period studied include E. coli traced to spinach and lettuce, and salmonella in tomatoes and peppers. The CDC said the findings show a need to focus more on preventing contamination of produce and poultry.

"Food regulators and industry have to make decisions about where to put their resources," said Patricia Griffin, chief of the CDC's enteric diseases epidemiology branch. "A lot of times you never know what food makes you sick."

The study, published in the agency's Emerging Infectious Diseases journal, looked at outbreaks from 1998 to 2008 that caused deaths, hospitalizations and illnesses after consumers ate 17 common food products. Contaminated food causes an estimated 48 million illnesses each year, with only about 9.6 million of those traced to known major pathogens lurking in food.

 Read more here....

The surprising foods that make people sick; By Maggie Fox, Senior Writer, NBC News; (January 29, 2013):  

ATLANTA, GEORGIA: Salad greens make the most people sick, but contaminated poultry kills the most Americans, federal researchers report in the first comprehensive look at the foods that cause foodborne illnesses. And there are a few surprises -- the bug most likely to be lurking in a salad is norovirus, and it probably came from the hands of the person who made it.

This doesn't mean salad is more dangerous, the team at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stresses: It just shows what foods are most involved and may reflect how often people eat them.

  Read more here... 

Multi purpose gamma irradiation facility in Biyagama, Sri Lanka; Food Safety News; Daily FT; (January 16, 2013).

BIYAGAMA, SRI LANKA: A Multi Purpose Gamma Irradiation facility (MGIF) is being constructed at Biyagama Export Processing Zone. Plans are to open the facility for Sri Lankan Industrialists in June 2013.

MGIF is important for any country for applications of gamma radiation for variety of such as medical product sterilisation, microbial dis-infestations of food products and spices, radiation preservation of food and for development of new industrial materials.

In addition to commercial operation, the plant will also be available for research and development activities of National Universities, and other research institutions.

 Read more... 
Salmonella risks in beef lymph nodes; By Dayna Harhay, microbiologist USDA's U.S. Meat Animal Research Center; (February 4, 2013)

Bacterial contamination is responsible for vast numbers of foodborne illnesses each year in the United States. Salmonella enterica is one of the leading bacterial agents of foodborne disease, causing approximately 40,000 documented cases in the U.S. each year. Although poultry products and, more recently, contaminated fresh produce are well-established vectors for S. enterica, several food-borne disease case studies have shown undercooked ground beef to be sources of sporadic and outbreak cases of salmonellosis.

Read more here...  

So God made a farmer!! By Paul Harvey: 
So God made a farmer!! Thank a farmer today for affordable, nutritious, safe and wholesome food. Watch this video which was shown on US national television during the 2013 Super Bowl on February 3rd, The video is a great testimonial to the heroes of American agriculture.
Watch Dodge truck ad from Super Bowl here....  
FOOD IRRADIATION: A GUIDE FOR CONSUMERS, POLICYMAKERS AND THE MEDIA published by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) can be downloaded at Food Irradiation Book
IRRADIATED FOODS; published by the American Council on Science & Health Provides Science- provides science-based Information on food irradiation. The booklet can be downloaded at:IRRADIATED FOODS
Food Irradiation Principles and Applications
is an excellent source of information about food irradiation. For information go to:
Food Irradiation: Principles & Applications
FOOD IRRADIATION: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS is an excellent source of information on food irradiation.FOOD IRRADIATION: QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Food Irradiation Update is being sent to you by Ronald F. Eustice on behalf of the Food Irradiation Processing Alliance (FIPA) and the International Irradiation Association (iiA).
Ronald F. Eustice
Minneapolis, MN

For more information on food irradiation visit
Remember: 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




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