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Research Priorities Relating to Food Irradiation

: Fink, A.; Rehmann, D.

Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities, 1994, 95 S.
FLAIR study report, 3; EUR, 15017 : Food-Science and Techniques
ISBN: 92-826-7496-7
Fraunhofer ILV ( IVV) ()

The objectives of the study are to summarize the actual state of the art of the research activities about food irradiation with special consideration of newer studies since 1985 and to indicate the remaining knowledge gaps and resulting research priorities. The irradiation process has proved to be successful on a wide range of medical and food products and has become commercial routine practice in a number of countries. An actual need for radiation technology is seen in the field of application where other alternative methods are either restricted, contested or not present: replacement of chemical treatments, improvement of microbiological safety in certain cases, quality and availability of certain tropical fruits. The study reports on various technical aspects related to wholesomeness, microbiology and packaging materials. The use of irradiation in combination with other treatments is seen as one of the most effective ways of using irradiation. At present 19 out of 36 countries that permit irradiation conduct commercial irradiation. The total commercial market is now some 500 000 tonnes per annum. The reaction of the consumer to food irradiation still tends to be critical. Studies suggest that there is a positive correlation between approval of food irradiation and the level of consumer education. Intensive research has led to a number of detection methods which can demonstrate whether foods are irradiated or not. Some techniques are or can be applied. Other are currently tested or developed for practical use. The study lists a number of remaining knowledge gaps and research priorities in the areas of the irradiation process and facilities, nutritional aspects, toxicology, combined processes, packaging and detection methods. It is recommended that more consumer education is needed and that the consumer must be provided with accurate, factual information which can be easily understood