Irradiated Foods

Emily Aldredge - APES 4th period

What is food irradiation?

Food irradiation is a process where certain foods are exposed to radiant energy, including gamma rays, electron beams, and x-rays. This process was accepted and found completely safe by the FDA in 1963. Food irradiation is completed in a government approved facility, but this process is not a substitute for good sanitation, it is just another cautionary process.

What types of foods are irradiated?

  • fresh meat & poultry (whole birds, skinless poultry, pork chops, roasts, liver, hamburger, & ground meat)
  • wheat, white potatoes, spices, eggs, & fresh produce

How are irradiated foods regulated?

  • Irradiated foods are safe to eat
  • FDA & other public health agencies evaluated food irradiation safe over the past 50 years.
  • Irradiation has been endorsed by the American Medical Association and the United Nations' World Health Organization.
  • The sources and amounts of energy that can be applied to foods have been approved by the FDA and are not strong enough to cause food to become radioactive.
  • Food irradiation does not change the nutrient content, flavor or texture of food.

Safety Issues

  • little reduction in food nutrition sometimes
  • some consumers believe that the radiant energy used to kill the bacteria in foods alters the food composition and makes it dangerous, but scientific evidence shows that this is not true.


  • the radura - symbol for irradiated foods
  • "treated by irradiation"


  • “I think that more consumers would choose irradiated foods if they fully understood the process and the results so that they were comfortable with it,” said Joseph Sebranek, Ph.D., agriculture and life sciences professor at Iowa State University.
  • As shown in the quote, people just need to be more educated about this process.