Safety and nutritional adequacy of irradiated food
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The exposure of food to controlled levels of ionizing radiation has a number of beneficial effects, including delaying of ripening, inhibition of sprouting, and inactivation of insects, parasites, helminths, bacteria, moulds and yeasts. However, in general, governments have been slow to authorize the routine use of this technique of food processing, often because of a lack of understanding of what it entails, and a fear of untoward effects on the treated food. This report presents an up-to-date review of the many scientific studies that have been carried out on the safety and nutritional quality of irradiated food. Starting from a brief outline of the history of food preservation, it goes on to consider in detail the chemistry and potential applications of food irradiation, and to discuss possible ways of determining whether food has been irradiated. Toxicological studies are reviewed, and the effects of irradiation on microorganisms and on the nutritional quality of the food itself are examined. The report concludes that food irradiation is a thoroughly tested technique, that it has not been shown to have any deleterious effects when performed in accordance with good manufacturing practice, and that it can help to ensure a safer and more plentiful food supply by extending shelf-life, eradicationg pests and inactivating pathogens
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