Food Irradiation Updates

Published by Ronald F. Eustice on behalf of the Food Irradiation Processing Alliance (FIPA) and the International Irradiation Association (iiA).
October  2013
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.
This issue of Food Irradiation Update clearly points out the value of irradiation as an increasingly valuable food safety and phytosanitary tool to ensure the integrity of our food supply, protect agriculture from harmful pests and significantly increase food security.  In recent months the volume of irradiated food sold commercially in the United States and elsewhere has grown significantly. Increasingly irradiation is being used to reduce vibrio vulnicus in oysters to non-detectable levels. Phytosanitary irradiation has opened up new markets worldwide as additional facilities become available and we all know that deadly bacteria is a constant challenge to the meat industry.
Pakistan suffers 40 percent harvest losses
Irradiation technology to keep fruits fresh
Mango safety is strong focus at PMA Convention in New Orleans
XL Beef worries industry rebounds following E. coli recall
Alabama men diagnosed with vibrio vulnificus, one dies
Katama Bay, Massachusetts oyster farms reopened after vibrio outbreak
Florida reports 26 cases of vibrio vulnicus
FDA says imported spices carry salmonella
Pakistan suffers 40 percent harvest losses; Associated Press of Pakistan; (October 6, 2013)
LAHORE, PAKISTAN; (APP): Pakistan is one of leading producers and exporters of horticultural commodities but faces a 40 percent post-harvest loss which can be minimized gradually by using the gamma irradiation process according to Deputy Chief Scientist of Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Dr. Fazal Mehmood.
Application of gamma radiation technology to horticultural commodities destined for export will ensure the compliance of WTO regulations and quarantine measures regarding international trade,he said.
After increased sanitary and phyto-sanitary concerns of the importing countries, Pakistani exporters are facing quarantine related problems in their overseas trade.
Exporters are in need of an effective alternate to methyl bromide (an ozone depleting fumigant) to meet the quarantine requirement of importing countries with additional bonus of increasing the shelf life of treated commodities.
Food irradiation is the process of exposing the horticultural produce to ionizing radiation which eliminates microbes and pests harbouring on the treated materials without harming the macronutrients. Read more here... 

Irradiation technology to keep fruits fresh; The International News; (October 3, 2013):

LAHORE, PAKISTAN: "We will have to adopt food irradiation technology to keep fruits and vegetables fresh and enhance their shelf life" said Pakistan Minister for Agriculture Dr Farrukh Javed while addressing international conference on "Commercial Exploitation of Food Irradiation Technology in Pakistan-Potentials, Opportunities and Challenges" at PCSIR Laboratries complex recently.

The conference was organised by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), PCSIR Laboratories, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

PCSIR Chairman Dr Shaukat Parvaiz, Dr Qu Liang from joint FAO/IAEA Austria, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission member science Dr Badar Suleman and renowned national and international scientists participated in the meeting.

The minister said irradiation technology would be effective for elimination of germs from food and keep it according to the principle. Read more here... 
Mango safety is strong focus at PMA Convention in New Orleans; The Produce News (October 3, 2013):

The National Mango Board will host its annual Mango Industry Reception Saturday, Oct. 19 from 5:30-7:30 at PMA's Fresh Summit in New Orleans, with a strong focus on food safety for the mango industry.

This outreach event brings members of all levels of the mango supply chain from across the world to connect and network. The Fresh Produce Association of the Americas is also a host of the event.

Reception attendees will learn about the areas of opportunity for the mango industry. Food safety expert Sergio Nieto-Montenegro of Food Safety Consulting & Training Solutions LLC will give an update on his findings from his industry-wide assessment as well as his recommendations for mango growing farms and packinghouses in the top six importing countries, and mango warehouses and distribution centers in the U.S.

The goal of the assessment is to recognize and engage industry members to build upon existing food-safety efforts and improve best practices.  Read more here... 

XL Beef worries continue as industry rebounds following E. coli recall;CBC News (September 8, 2013)
BROOKS, ALBERTA: It was largely symbolic, but one year after the largest meat recall in Canadian history, the city of Brooks in southeastern Alberta held a celebration to mark the turning of a page.

A huge beef barbecue was the first major community gathering since Brooks was plunged into months of economic uncertainty when U.S. food inspectors found E. coli bacteria in a shipment of beef from the XL Foods plant.

"When this began we said when this gets done and it's over we should have a get-together and celebrate Alberta beef," said Brooks Mayor Martin Shields. "It was a tough, tough go, but now that ... we think it's on solid ground, we're celebrating the industry in our community."

The U.S. quickly closed its border last September to beef from the plant, which slaughtered up to 40 per cent of Canada's cattle. Canadian officials then shut the plant down and sent 2,200 workers home.

In the weeks that followed, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency pulled back more than 2,000 products across the country involving millions of kilograms of beef.

U.S. food safety regulators announced a similar recall of products in more than 30 states. Canadians renewed their call for food irradiation. Read more here... 

MOBILE, ALABAMA: Two men, both with underlying health conditions, have been diagnosed with the bacteria vibrio vulnificus in Mobile County, Alabama since September, according to the Mobile County Health Department. One of the men died in late September after contracting the illness. The other man has been hospitalized since Oct. 6, in Mobile.

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium found in brackish water and is more prevalent in warmer months. It can cause disease in those who eat contaminated seafood or have an open wound that is exposed to the seawater, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Among healthy people, ingestion of vibrio vulnificus can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. In someone with a compromised immune system, particularly those with chronic liver disease, vibrio vulnificus can infect the bloodstream, causing a severe and life-threatening illness characterized by fever and chills, decreased blood pressure (septic shock), and blistering skin lesions. vibrio vulnificus bloodstream infections are fatal about half of the time, health officials said. Read more here... 

Katama Bay, Massachusetts oyster farms reopened after vibrio outbreak; Vineyard Gazette; (October 10, 2013):

Boat image 2

Katama Bay oyster farms reopened for business last Saturday, about three and a half weeks after the area was closed to harvesting because it was linked to cases of Vibrio bacteria.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Department of Fish and Game, Division of Marine Fisheries (DMF) announced the reopening Friday afternoon, Oct. 4. The 12 independent oyster farms operating on Katama Bay were back to business Saturday at dawn.

On Sept. 9, Massachusetts announced the bay would be closed to oyster harvesting after two cases of Vibrio parahaemolyticus (Vp) were tied to the area.


Illnesses from tainted oysters increase - Florida reports 26 cases of vibrio vulnicus; Global Dispatch; (September 29, 2013):  

The number of cases of the potentially deadly bacteria vibrio vulnicus in Florida reached 26.  The bacterium prompted a health warning in Central Florida advising seafood lovers and beachgoers to use caution. The report notes that of the 26 cases recorded, nine have died, or about 3 out of 10.

Vibrio vulnificus is a bacterium that is found in all coastal waters. Most infections are attributed to consuming raw oysters harvested in the Gulf of Mexico during the summer. Because the oysters are shipped all over the country, infections are not limited to the Gulf States.

Oysters are sedentary bivalve mollusks that feed by filtering plankton (small plants and animals) from estuarine water. Because Vibrio vulnificus occurs naturally in the same waters that oysters feed, the bacteria is ingested and becomes assimilated and concentrated in the animal's tissues.

Editor's note: Irradiation of raw oysters reduces the bacteria Vibrio vulnicus to non-detectable levels.

Read more here... 

FDA says imported spices carry salmonella; Food Product Design; (September 1, 2013):
WASHINGTON-The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will soon release an analysis of imported spices as a "potent source of salmonella poisoning," according to an article in The New York Times. In a study of more than 20,000 food shipments, FDA found nearly 7 percent of spice lots were contaminated with salmonella, twice the average of all other imported foods. Some 15% of coriander and 12% of oregano and basil shipments were contaminated, with high contamination levels also found in sesame seeds, curry powder and cumin. Four percent of black pepper shipments were contaminated.

Each year, 1.2 million people in the United States become sick from salmonella, one of the most common causes of food-borne illness. More than 23,000 are hospitalized and 450 die.

Mexico and India had the highest share of contaminated spices. Approximately 14% of the samples from Mexico contained salmonella, the study found, a result Mexican officials disputed.

India's exports were the second-most contaminated at approximately 9%, but India ships nearly four times the amount of spices to the United States that Mexico does, so its contamination problems are particularly worrisome, officials said. Almost one-fourth of the spices, oils and food colorings used in the United States are imported from India.


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: 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

Phone: (612) 202-1016
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

Ronald F. Eustice | 13768 Trost Trail | Savage, | MN | 55378





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