Commercial irradiation in Malaysia started in 1997 at the Cobalt 60 irradiation facility (SINAGAMA) of the Malaysian Institute for Nuclear Technology Research. This plant has processed 70―80 tons every year since 2006. A total of 785 tons of spices and herbs were irradiated in 2010; the products included curry powder, coriander, and pepper. Malaysia established a Framework Equivalency Work Plan (FEWP) agreement with the US and is now eligible to export many types of fruit to the USA. In March 2014, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved importation of starfruit (carambola), papaya, rambutan, jackfruit, and pineapple for quarantine purposes. With the newly granted approval, the Government of Malaysia expects to export 2,500MT of fresh pineapples, 1,500MT of fresh jackfruit and 3,000 MT of fresh starfruit annually to the United States. Irradiation of Malaysian rambutan, papaya, starfruit (carambola), jackfruit and pineapple is a mandatory requirement for US importation.
|Coriander||Malaysian Irradiation Facility (Sinagama)||Black Pepper|
Malaysia proposed to work on four different areas to promote food irradiation technology under the project. Scientists were convinced that a clear cut need for the process, cost benefits, regulatory control, consumer acceptance and logistics had to be addressed for viable practical application of the technology. Promotional activities were carried out and the issues related to public and food industry acceptance of the technology, were addressed. Educational materials were developed using relevant ICGFI published materials. Thirty-seven food companies were surveyed and were appraised of the technical aspects and important benefits of irradiation technology. The majority of industrial respondents were aware of food irradiation but the level of knowledge was poor. One quarter of the industries surveyed understood that the irradiation process is a safe technique. As a part of a community outreach and public education activity a cross-section of the public was provided with popular information on the process through a seminar, exhibition, lectures and visits to industrial enterprises.
Source: IAEA-TECDOC-1219 Consumer acceptance and market development of irradiated food in Asia and the Pacific.