Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Home Economics

First Advisor

Michael G. Crews


Food irradiation is a process which may provide an alternative to existing conventional food processes. It will not completely replace or substitute for other processes, but its unique qualities offer an additional processing option. A major difficulty with food irradiation is that it can potentially affect all food, and thus it touches on all food issues - from affecting the physical characteristics of food to labeling and consumer acceptance. Research directed toward the use of radiation for the preservation of foods began in 1945. Most of the studies have been government sponsored, at least partly because the 1985 food additives amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act required advance approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before any particular irradiated food could be publicly sold. Currently, two events have served to renew interest in food irradiation processing. First, recommendations have been made by the Join t Expert Committee on Wholesomeness of irradiated Foods, convened by the World Health Organization. After reviewing all the food safety data available, this committee concluded that any food irradiated to an average "dose" of 1 Mrad or less is wholesome for humans and therefore should be approved without further testing. The WHO Joint Committee deferred general recombination for foods irradiated at higher radiation levels until data from on- going studies are available for evaluation. Secondly, the FDA has been considering new regulatory procedures regarding irradiated foods. The FDA has outlined a number of possible actions which could ultimately lead to approval for irradiation preservation of foods when the irradiation levels used are 0.1 Mrad or less. The FDA has also suggested changes in the criteria for establishing the safety of foods that would be irradiated at levels between 0.1 and 1.0 Mrad which includes levels sufficient to pasteurize foods. The recommendations of the WHO Joint Expert Committee and the regulatory procedures under consideration by the FDA suggest that consideration for commercialization of irradiation preservation of foods is timely. However, the success of these processes will depend ultimately upon their cost, consumer acceptance, and labeling require­ments, as well as evaluating whether the technology fulfills a perceived consumer need.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Radiation preservation of food
Meat -- Radiation preservation
Irradiated foods



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State