Is irradiated food safe for consumption?

Research has proved that irradiated food does not retain any radioactive property. Absolutely. The process of food irradiation involves exposing the food to the energy from short-wave radiations like gamma rays, x-rays or electrons. But research over the last 40 years has proved that irradiated food does not retain any radioactive property and hence is completely safe. Moreover, irradiation does not diminish the nutritive value of the food.

This technology is used to destroy the bacterial, fungal or viral growth in food that can spoil it or cause diseases. Irradiated food thus has a longer shelf life. As irradiation is a cold process it causes no change in the freshness or texture of the food unlike certain other procedures that involve heat. In fact, it is difficult to tell an irradiated apple from a normal one as it remains as juicy and crisp. Presently over 40 food items such as fruits, vegetables, spices, seafood, grains, meat and poultry are available in irradiated form. Many specially-marked irradiated fruits and vegetables are commercially sold in the U.S., France, China, South Africa and the Netherlands.

Although the process of irradiation greatly reduces the growth of bacteria it does not completely eliminate it. Hence irradiated poultry needs refrigeration. As for irradiated fruits, refrigeration is not essential though they will last much longer in a refrigerator.

Around 20,000 million tonnes of food and allied products are irradiated in India annually. These include agricultural produce such as onion, potato, mango, grains and other products such as onion powder, garlic powder, spices, Ayurvedic products and animal feed.


*The Radura logo is an international symbol that indicates a food product has been irradiated. The logo, usually green in colour, depicts a flower represented by a dot and two leaves within a half-broken circle.

* Around 20,000 million tonnes of food are irradiated in India annually.

Picture Credit : Google 

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