Irradiation: Overview

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:52 by admin
Many health experts agree that using a process called irradiation can be an effective way to help reduce food-borne hazards and ensure that harmful organisms are not in the foods we buy. During irradiation, foods are exposed briefly to a radiant energy source such as gamma rays or electron beams within a shielded facility. Irradiation is not a substitute for proper food manufacturing and handling procedures. But the process, especially when used to treat meat and poultry products, can kill harmful bacteria, greatly reducing potential hazards.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved irradiation of meat and poultry and allows its use for a variety of other foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables, and spices. The agency determined that the process is safe and effective in decreasing or eliminating harmful bacteria. Irradiation also reduces spoilage bacteria, insects and parasites, and in certain fruits and vegetables it inhibits sprouting and delays ripening. For example, irradiated strawberries stay unspoiled up to three weeks, versus three to five days for untreated berries.

Food irradiation is allowed in nearly 40 countries and is endorsed by the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association and many other organizations.

Several public service organizations are skeptical of the benefits of irradiation. According to the government watchdogs, scientists have not conducted long-term studies to examine the effects of eating irradiated food. Critics fear irradiation may lead to the creation of carcinogenic chemical compounds or to the destruction of vitamins. Vitamin A, C, E, K and B levels are reduced during the process. Past studies indicate that irradiation may lead to higher levels of benzene exposure, chromosome damage, immunotoxicity, and kidney disease. Recently, Washington, D.C. area postal employees who had processed irradiated mail sanitized as a precaution against anthrax contamination complained of nosebleeds, respiratory problems, migraine headaches, nausea, and runny eyes.

See your doctor if you have experienced serious side effects associated with irradiation. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

Attorneys associated with will evaluate your case free of charge. In addition, you will not pay any fees or costs unless your attorney recovers money for you. Please click on the free Ask an Attorney button to take advantage of this valuable service.

See Also

  1. Food Products & Restaurants
  2. Cancer
  3. Headaches
  4. Immune Disorders
  5. Kidney Failure
  6. Lung & Airway Disorders
  7. Nausea: Overview
  Name Size