Presently, the trend of sterilized and processed food has been adopted in India from foreign countries. Generally, housewives are found hunting for techniques to prevent food from bacteria or yeasts. The changing scenario has resulted in the adoption of new emerging technologies for preserving food items.
You must have observed at times that due to the weather conditions of a country, food items may show the growth of innumerable insects and micro-organisms. This spoils the food making it unsuitable for consumption. To avoid such scenarios, it becomes important to adopt some techniques to preserve food. In India, various techniques of preserving food are popular such as pickling, drying, and fermentation. These techniques are often supplemented with other energy consuming methods such as canning, freezing, and refrigeration. Each of these methods has their own merits and demerits and are beneficial when the quality of food to be preserved is small. However, new methods such as irradiation or sterilization of food have been introduced and adopted by industries and manufacturers to support storage and preservation of large volume of food items.
The process of gamma irradiation involves treatment of certain types of food with ionizing energy or radiation. These radiations are in the form of gamma rays emitted from the source of cobalt-60 or from some other non-radioactive source. An example of a non-radioactive source is an electron beam produced from electricity. This process kills bacteria and parasites that may cause illness. Also, the sterilized food can last longer without refrigeration as the bacteria, insects, moulds, or yeasts are killed. These pathogens that destroy food are made inactive; thereby, preventing or delaying the ripening of fruits and vegetables. Apart from fruits and vegetables, the spices are also prevented from generation of insects.
The sterilized food is popular in almost 42 countries around the world such as USA, UK, Canada, and France. Also, the Government of India has permitted the use of radiation technologies to preserve various food items such as onion, rice, potato, maida, mango, dried dates, ginger, meat, and meat products. The irradiators can be used for disinfestations of disease-causing organisms and pests. Many food items in India are affected by the production of bacteria, insects, and yeasts. The introduction of this technique has helped in exporting various food items without the change in their taste, fragrance, and quality.
As per research and study, it has been found that the irradiated sterilized products do not need to be refrigerated. Moreover, the products exposed to radiations or sterilized with the help of food processing and preservation methods are least affected by yeasts or bacteria.
On the other side, the adoption of radiation processing technology to preserve food has a few limitations. Many dairy products that have been treated with irradiators change color, flavor, and odor. In addition, eggs are also not amenable to the radiation technology.
In spite of a few exceptions, irradiation technology can be safely and effectively used to preserve food items instead of refrigerating them. This is because the food items kept in refrigerators do not last long. Therefore, in the changing scenario, it is ideal to preserve food by adopting radiation food processing techniques instead of the traditional method.