Food irradiation seems to be in the news lately, but many people just aren’t sure exactly what it is and what it does, except that is something scientific and technological to do with food. So what is it, and how does it benefit you?
Irradiation is where food is subjected to gamma rays from radioactive colbat-60 or cesium-137. This is treating food with ionizing radiation.
This process kills many food-borne illnesses and bacteria, including E. coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria, Cyclospora and Shigella.
The most common misconception about food irradiation is that it causes food to become radioactive, which is not true. Irradiation does not alter the nutritional value or components in food. But it does kill food-borne illnesses, which is why all food consumed in space has been treated with irradiation, to help prevent sickness.
In the US, foods treated with irradiation must be labelled, however in Canada, there are no such requirements.