lunes, 19 de julio de 2010

Is Food Irradiation The Future?

Food irradiation is approved but consumers are not convinced
Today, more than 40 countries use food irradiation as an additional tool for food safety. Food irradiation is a process that can eliminate disease-causing pathogens. It exposes food items, either packaged or in bulk, to varying doses of high-energy, invisible radiation. The process kills harmful microorganisms by disrupting their DNA, so they can no longer reproduce. Smaller doses can modify sprouting and ripening, while higher doses can potentially alter molecules in microorganisms, which can lead to a decrease in food spoilage and foodborne illnesses like E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria, and more.
Other benefits are: food irradiation eliminates insects in fruits and vegetables, delays ripening of fruits and vegetables, extends freshness, and all the while, food is left virtually unchanged with no loss in vitamins or minerals; it has economical benefice, as well as from a social welfare standpoint, because it can extend the shelf life of the product; is environmentally friendly; and it is impossible for the average person to distinguish the taste between irradiated food and non-irradiated food.
There are still those who remain skeptical about the process, and it remains as a controversy among consumers. Some opponents of food irradiation argue that extending the shelf life of many food products is unnatural and unhealthy, so people will prone to eat unnatural food.
This technology could have a great impact in food safety. In the USA, products such as ground beef, poultry, and produce, like spinach and Indian mangoes, and even spices are among the many food items that currently undergo food irradiation. Today, any food product that is marketed in supermarkets has to include a Radura symbol, so the consumers can be informed and can decide what they are eating.
Aporte: Claudia Foerster

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