Food Irradiation



Fruits from Thailand that require irradiation for phytosanitary purposes include Litchi, Longan, Mango, Mangosteen, Pineapple, Rambutan, Dragon Fruit

Thai litchi Longan Fruit Mango
Thailand Litchi Longan Mango





Rambutan Dragon Fruit Mangosteen Pineapple
Rambutan Dragon Fruit Mangosteen Pineapple

Thailand is one of the more advanced countries in the region with respect to the introduction of irradiated foods in supermarkets. It has successfully commercialized irradiated ‘nham’ (a traditional fermented sausage), spices, the enzyme bromelin and other products. The Thai Irradiation Center (TIC), which is a government facility, irradiated 5114 tons of food items on a commercial basis consisting of spices — 936 tons, herbs — 115 tons, fermented pork sausages or ‘nham’ — 295 tons, bromelin enzyme — 476 tons, pet products — 1336 tons and other products — 1958 tons. Thailand has regulations for the irradiation of 18 different food items. As a member of the ASEAN and the RCA, it is expected to adopt the draft ASEAN Harmonized Regulation for Food Irradiation as well as the related document adopted in Seoul in April 1998.

Identification of a suitable material for consumer packaging, market testing and survey of consumer attitudes for irradiated rice, were also carried out. Special grade fragrant rice and Jasmine rice (800 bags of 5 kg per bag) were irradiated to a minimum absorbed dose of 0.5 kGy at the TIC. The product was distributed weekly to local food stores in the Donmuang district in Bangkok, and the Klong Luang district, Pathum Thani, as well as to various government organizations and interested individuals. The irradiated rice was sold at 60 bahts per bag (about US $2.4) to retailers at a time when various commercial brands of nonirradiated rice (5 kg.pack) were available in the market at 52 to 78 bahts, depending on quality and brand. An information leaflet and a simple questionnaire were given to the consumers. It was found that 72% of consumers bought irradiated rice because of its high quality based on visual inspection and 28% were willing to try new products. In general, there was no consumer resistance to irradiated foods, especially irradiated fermented pork sausage (‘nham’) which is well-known in Bangkok supermarkets. The food industry has set up a very high requirement for the microbiological quality of food and therefore of raw materials used for food processing. Since 1997, the volume of spices and food seasonings for irradiation has increased rapidly due to the acceptance of the technology by the food industry. The use of irradiation is also on the increase for other products.

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




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