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Article Published In Vol.1 (Nov-Dec-2013)

An Overview of the Principles and Effects of Irradiation on Food Processing & Preservation

Pages : 236-243

Author : J.T. Liberty, D.I. Dickson, A.E. Achebe and M.B. Salihu

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When food irradiation is carried out under Good Manufacturing Practice conditions, is commended as an effective, widely applicable food processing method judged to be safe on extensive available evidence, that can reduce the risk of food poisoning, control food spoilage and extend the shelf-life of foods without detriment to health and with minimal effect on nutritional or sensory quality. This view has been endorsed by international bodies such as the World Health Organisation(WHO), the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and Codex Alimentarius. Food irradiation is the processing of food products by ionising radiation in order to control foodborne pathogens, reduce microbial load and insect infestation, inhibit the germination of root crops, and extend the durable life of perishable produce. The use of irradiation has been approved for about 50 different types of food and at least 33 countries are using the technology commercially. Despite the fact that irradiation has been used for decades for food disinfection that satisfies quarantine requirements in trade, health concerns over the consumption of irradiated food continue to attract attention. This study reviewed the basic principles, applications and the associated potential health risk, if any, posed to consumers as a result of consumption of irradiated food. Review of the available evidence showed that although irradiation processing leads to chemical changes and nutrient losses, the safety and nutrient quality of irradiated foods are comparable to foods that have been treated with other conventional food processing methods such as heating, pasteurisation and canning when the technology is used as recommended and good manufacturing practices are followed.

Keywords: chemical changes, food Irradiation, food processing and preservation, shelf-life, spoilage





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