Food irradiation is a process that gives similar results to personalization or freezing. In this process, the food is completely exposed to doses of ionizing energy or radiation. However at low doses irradiation will extend a product shelf life and at high levels, the food irradiation process will start killing insects, bacteria, molds, as well as other potentially harmful microorganisms.
The scientific research made over the past few decades has concluded that food irradiation is a completely safe and effective form of processing them. It has already been approved in more than 40 countries including Japan, China, France, the United States, India, and Holland. There are also several food irradiation plants in India.
Let us see in this blog more about food irradiation and its effect.
Radioactivity And Irradiated Food
There is a very common misconception related to irradiated food. The misconception is that irritated food is radioactive and the radiation used to process foods is very different when compared to the radioactive fallout that occurs later. During the food processing treatment, the radioactive sources generate electrons, X rays, or gamma rays of sufficiently high energy to make the food radioactive. This is how no other radioactive energy remains in the food after the treatment.
As per the World Health organization concept, there are more internationally recognized bodies that support food irradiation.
The process of food irradiation
During the process, the food is exposed to ionizing radiation from gamma rays or high-energy electron beams. These rays are the typical form of radiation that has similar characteristics as that of microwaves but with high penetration and energy. Here the rays will pass through the food but the food will not heat up to a particular limit. However, exposure to gamma rays does not make food radioactive at all and is completely beneficial for human health. X-rays or electron beams are generated with the help of electricity that can be switched off or switched on.
It has been observed that in both cases the organisms responsible for spoiling foods including molds bacteria insects can be killed. But remember that food irradiation can not kill viruses.
High Benefits Of Food Irradiation
- Food irradiation offers a wide array of benefits. These benefits include the following-
- Extended life of few products
- Reduced food spoilage
- Reduced need for pesticides and additives, preservatives, and antioxidants
- It is the best alternative treatment for disinfecting imported grains fruits as well as vegetables that makes use of ozone-depleting gas
- It offers reduced sprouting in onions, spices, herbs, and potatoes
- Impact Of irradiation on food
Experts say that dairy foods and eggs cannot be radiated since it causes drastic changes in the texture and flavor of the food. Spices, green foods, vegetables, fruits, as well as meats can be easily irradiated.
Food irradiation brings low changes to the chemical composition of the food and hence it can alter the nutritional content of foods since it can reduce the level of some vitamins. This loss is very similar to those that can occur when food is cooked or is preserved in much more traditional methods such as blanching or canning.
Down the line, food irradiation is quite beneficial to our health and does not impose any bad effects.