Food Irradiation




Irradiated Noodles
China Chickenfeet

Chicken Feet
In China, the irradiated food items in 2010 included spices and dehydrated vegetables, cereals, garlic, meat, health foods, and functional foods. Although nationwide data for each item were not obtained in 2010, detailed information for the southwest of the country was available. It is estimated that more than 200,000 metric tons of food are irradiated in China. A total of 6800 tons of pickled chicken, beef, and other meats was treated at 13 irradiation facilities in Sichuan, Yunnan, Chongqing, Shanxi, Guizhou, Gansu, and Xinjiang. China’s irradiation facilities include twenty (20) Cobalt 60 facilities with four of these being larger than1MCi.

The Ministry of Public Health approved irradiation of food by classes in July 1998, establishing standards for six classes/groups of foods covering a wide range of items under each class, namely vegetables and fruits, grains and beans, meats and poultry (fresh, chilled or frozen), cooked meat, spices and dehydrated vegetables and dried fruits and nuts. The approval was made effective and replaced an earlier approval for 18 food items. China established 50 large irradiators (each with a source strength of over 100 000 Ci), across the country, irradiating food and other products. In 1995–1998 more than 166 000 tons of different food products were irradiated and marketed through normal trading channels. The major products included rice — 2800 tons, garlic — 130 000 tons, spices — 25 000 tons, dehydrated vegetables — 8000 tons, and health food — 200 tons.

During the period 1994 to 1996, more than 30 consumer acceptability tests covering 20 different products were conducted in a number of Chinese cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu, and Nanging. More than 40 000 bags (10 tons) of irradiated pickled meat products with grain stillage were test marketed in more than one hundred supermarkets in Shanghai and evaluated for consumer acceptability. Consumer acceptance was favourable for the treated products marketed with the international logo for food irradiation. Market testing of irradiated rice, dehydrated vegetables and spices showed that 70–80% of consumers preferred the irradiated products based on quality considerations. The work on the production of a video on ‘Irradiation Processing and Commercial Application of the Technology’ was completed and will be used for creating public awareness. Studies on the inactivation of pork-borne parasites, the elimination of bacterial pathogens and the extension of shelf-life (shelf-life was extended for 30 days at a dose of 3 kGy at 5C) were carried out on irradiated prepackaged ‘fresh chilled cut’ pork. The cost benefit of this application was also investigated.

Source: IAEA-TECDOC-1219 Consumer acceptance and market development of irradiated food in Asia and the Pacific.





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