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Report No.

Basic knowledge and world trends in food irradiation

Kobayashi, Yasuhiko

Food irradiation is a technology to treat foods with ionizing radiation such as $$gamma$$-rays and electron beams to improve the safety and extends the shelf life of foods by reducing or eliminating microorganisms and insects, and by prevention of sprouting. Food irradiated with ionizing radiation is named "irradiated food". Many international organizations have approved the safety and usefulness of food irradiation. Ionizing radiation can treat packaged foods and fresh and/or frozen products, and effectively and uniformly treat all portions of foods. Food irradiation is an environmentally friendly technology without usage of chemicals and contributes to the solution of food security and food sanitary problems, especially reducing post-harvest losses of foods and controlling food borne illness, as an alternative to chemical fumigation with ethylene oxide and methyl bromide gasses. Japan has a 50 years history of food irradiation research. The "Japanese Research Association for Food Irradiation" was launched in 1965. It was legally authorized to irradiate potatoes for preventing germination in 1972 and since 1974 irradiated potatoes have been shipped from the Shihoro-cho Agricultural Cooperative Association in Hokkaido. Recently, commercial food irradiation has increased significantly in Asia, however, Japan is now far behind other countries and it is called a "food irradiation underdeveloped country". To break through the current backward situation, this paper introduces the latest and objective facts related to food irradiation based on scientific data.



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