Essay Title: 

Food Science/Irradiation

March 26, 2016 | Author: | Posted in health and medicine, nutrition

Food Irradiation

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2 November 2006

Food irradiation is another technology to make food safe that , like canning , got its start in feeding the military . In other words , food irradiation is a method of controlling insect pests and pathogenic or spoilage bacteria in food and agricultural commodities . Instead of using heat or chemicals for processing , irradiation uses gamma energy electron beams , or X-rays . Sometimes it is referred to as cold pasteurization . Similar technology is used to sterilize medical equipment and devices so they [banner_entry_middle]

can be used in surgery and implanted without risk of infection

Research began in earnest with President Eisenhower ‘s Atoms-for-Peace ‘ policy after World War II . Much of the early research was carried out by the U .S . Army and the Atomic Energy Commission . After World War II , the U .S . Army began experiments irradiating fresh foods for troops in the field . All irradiation is energy moving through space in invisible waves . The length of the wave determines the nature of the energy . As the wavelength gets shorter , the energy of the wave increases . Microwaves have a relatively long wavelength , so they have lower energy that is strong enough to move molecules and cause heat through friction , but not strong enough to structurally change atoms in the molecules . Ionizing radiation has a shorter wavelength and therefore higher energy – enough energy to change atoms by knocking electrons from them to form ions , but not enough energy to split atoms and cause exposed objects to become radioactive Food irradiation exposes foods to very high-energy , short-length invisible waves . Depending on the dose , irradiation performs different functions . Low doses delay ripening and sprouting in fresh fruits and vegetables , and control insects and parasites in foods . Medium doses extend the shelf life of foods and reduce both spoilage and pathogenic microorganisms by damaging the genetic material of bacteria so they can no longer survive or multiply . High doses disinfect certain food ingredients , such as spices , and sterilize meat , poultry , seafood , and prepared foods . NASA began irradiating foods for astronauts in 1972 a case of foodborne illness while in space could be deadly , since no medical care would be available . Similarly , some hospitals use irradiated foods to feed their more susceptible patients . The first commercial use of food irradiation occurred in 1963 , when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA ) approved its use to control insects in wheat and flour . Large-scale implementation of food irradiation in the United States has been slow due to concerns about its safety . Realization that pathogens are the major concern in food safety has reignited interest in food irradiation

Food irradiation has different uses depending on the strength of radiation used . It can be used to control mold , inhibit sprouting in vegetables , control insect pests , reduce bacterial pathogens , or , at the strongest dose , sterilize food . At low doses irradiation is an alternative to fumigation with chemicals to eliminate insects . Low doses have been used to inhibit the growth of mold in strawberries and to inhibit… [banner_entry_footer]


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