Food Irradiation Updates

Published by the Minnesota Beef CouncilFebruary 2012
Notable & Quotable:

Moving forward, a very strong and vocal partnership between at least one fearless irradiation provider and an industry coalition is needed to champion and market the safety and effectiveness of food irradiation. They will also need the courage to counter the anti-irradiation forces that are bound to attack them and this technology once the process starts catching on again. Read more here...
Bryan Salvage, Meat &

Just a quick wrap up on my irradiation talk the other day.  Almost 90 people showed up, nobody fell asleep, and nearly all enjoyed taste-testing the irradiation processed samples.  The interest was really high.  Normally about 35 folks show up for these meetings, so you can see the difference.  Ron, the information you provided was a great help in making the presentation informative and interesting.  Thank you again for its use.
It once again confirmed Dr. Christine Bruhn's conclusions that about 80% of people would accept irradiated products if they were informed of its advantages.  (of the ) People who sampled the food at the meeting (acceptance) was closer to 90%.
George Dietz

Irradiation in European Union
Eleven European countries reported the use of irradiation for foods: Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Romania.
In total across all 11 countries, 9,263.4 tonnes of food was irradiated in 2010, 48 per cent of which by volume was frogs' legs. Other volumes of interest were poultry (2,082.1t; 22.5 per cent of the total); fish, shellfish & shrimps (165.8t; 1.8 per cent); egg white/powder (160.6t; 1.7 per cent) and meat (4.2t; 0.05 per cent).

Foodborne illness economic price tag in the United States is $77.7 billion a year
Sprouted seeds pose unacceptable health risk
One dead 54 sick with salmonella in England, Wales and Northern Ireland linked to watermelon
Timely Talk on Irradiation
New Report Reveals Use of Irradiation in EU Foods
Study shows electron-beam irradiation reduces virus-related health risk in lettuce, spinach.
Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) prepares for irradiation facility
Is that E. coli really gone? What happens to O157 when slow-cooking roast beef or grilling blade tenderization?
Foodborne illness economic price tag in the United States is $77.7 billion a year;  by  Robert Scharff, Professor, Ohio State University; (January 31, 2012):

COLUMBUS, OHIO- New data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011 estimated that in the U.S., 48 million people suffer from foodborne illnesses each year, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths from 31 identified pathogens as well as unspecified agents. Robert Scharff, an economist and researcher with the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC) applied the numbers to his own model, created in 2010, in order to find a more accurate figure in his new analysis, which was published in the January 2012 issue of the Journal of Food Protection.  Read more here.... 

Sprouted seeds pose unacceptable health risk;  Food; By Rick Pendrous;(January 21, 2012): 
Evidence is emerging that sprouted seeds could present an unacceptable risk to human health unless effective control measures such as irradiation can be used to make them safer. Read more here......

One dead 54 sick with salmonella in England, Wales and Northern Ireland linked to watermelon; BarfBlog; (February 2, 2012):

The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) is investigating an outbreak of a strain of Salmonella Newport infection among 30 people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland since the beginning of December 2011. Cases of illness caused by the same strain have been confirmed in Scotland, Ireland and Germany.  Read more here.... 

Timely Talk on Irradiation: Meat & Poultry; By Bryan Salvage (February 3, 2012):
When it comes to enhancing food safety, one proven and effective technology available is food irradiation. But progress advancing this technology in the US meat and poultry industry has been too slow.

The US Department of Agriculture issued its final rule on meat and poultry irradiation way back in December 1999. The Food Safety and Inspection Service amended its regulations to permit using ionizing radiation to treat refrigerated or frozen uncooked meat, meat by-products and certain other meat food products to reduce levels of foodborne pathogens plus extend shelf-life. FSIS also revised its regulations governing irradiating poultry products so they will be as consistent as possible with the regulations for the irradiation of meat products. The final rule became effective Feb. 22, 2000. Read more here... 

New Report Reveals Use of Irradiation in EU Foods; (February 7, 2012):

ANALYSIS - A new report published by the European Commission (EC) recently reveals that more than 9,000 tonnes of food were irradiated in the European Union in 2010. The main findings are summarized by senior editor, Jackie Linden.
According to the report, entitled Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council of Food and Food Ingredients treated with ionising radiation for the year 2010, the process was used in 11 member states for a whole range of foods, which included poultry, fish & shellfish, egg products and meat. The quantities treated are very small compared to the total volume of food produced in the EU and there are strict controls on its use. Read more here....

Study shows electron-beam irradiation reduces virus-related health risk in lettuce, spinach. May be first such study to provide quantified risk-reduction data; By: Paul Schattenberg; (February 3, 2012):

COLLEGE STATION - A team of scientists studying the effects of electron-beam irradiation on iceberg lettuce and spinach has had its research published in the February issue of the leading microbiology journal, Applied and Environmental Microbiology, said the study's lead investigator.

The study quantified the theoretical health-risk reduction from virus-related foodborne illness through the use of electron-beam irradiation. Read more here...  


Walmart stopped selling raw sprouts over a year ago for food safety reasons; why haven't others?;  Barf Blog; (February 13, 2012):

If Walmart can figure out that raw sprouts are too risky to sell in their stores, why are fancy food service providers, like Emirates airlines still serving sprouts?
"This decision was made because of our commitment to our customers' safety as well as our knowing of the inherent microbial risks associated with sprouts," said WallMart spokeswoman Dianna Gee. "Over the past year, we have been working with sprout growers within the industry to research enhanced food safety controls and microbial intervention strategies that would result in safer sprouts, before re-introducing them for sale in our stores and clubs." Read more here....

We need a "kill step" to eliminate E. coli germs from food; Dr. Harry Hull; (January 31, 2012):

As few as 10 highly infectious E. coli O157:H7 germs can make you very sick and, perhaps, kill you. Cattle vaccines or probiotics that reduce dangerous bacteria by 40-50% will never be an adequate solution for this serious problem. We need a "kill step" to eliminate E. coli germs from food.

Irradiation, which costs about the same per pound as vaccines, will eliminate at least 99.99% of E. coli germs in ground beef. Irradiation has the added benefit of killing other toxigenic E. coli, an increasingly recognized cause of serious human illness. Irradiation could have also prevented recent outbreaks of antibiotic-resistant Salmonella from ground turkey as well as Salmonella and E. coli outbreaks from fruits and green vegetables contaminated by wild life or run off from cattle farms.

Is irradiation safe? Absolutely! Will consumers accept it? Yes. Schwan's and Omaha Steaks have irradiated all their hamburgers for over a decade. It's time for government and industry to promote irradiation of all ground beef and ground turkey to protect our children, seniors and other vulnerable populations.

Harry F. Hull, M.D. submitted the above letter to the USA Today editors in response to an article published 28 November 2011 titled- Who should pay to make ground beef safe from E. coli? Dr Hull is an adjunct professor of infectious disease epidemiology at University of Minnesota School of Public Health and an adjunct professor in the Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota School of Medicine in Minneapolis. 

Food Irradiation Update is being sent as an update on food irradiation by Ronald F. Eustice, Executive Director of the Minnesota Beef Council. 

Executive Director
Minnesota Beef Council
2950 Metro Drive # 102
Bloomington, MN 55425
For more information on food irradiation visit
Remember: Food irradiation is a cold pasteurization process that will do for ground meats, produce, and other foods what thermal pasteurization did for milk decades ago.
Ron Eustice
Minnesota Beef Council
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




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FIPA is a chapter of the International Irradiation Association