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Elimination of pathogens of significance in food by low-dose irradiation: a review


, : Elimination of pathogens of significance in food by low-dose irradiation: a review. Journal of Food Protection 57(1): 73-86

Food irradiation is a processing technology that has been shown to be a wholesome process by many scientific studies conducted worldwide during the past 40 years. The research has been supported by the World Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization, and governmental agencies in many different countries. Industrial support also has been substantial. Some of the benefits ascribed to this technology include improved shelf life, reduced use of chemicals as preservatives, and reduced levels of pathogens in foods. Pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Yersinia enterocolitica, and Aeromonas hydrophila are capable of growing at temperatures as low as 0 degrees C and are considered to pose a threat to the safety of refrigerated products. The number of cases of foodborne illness caused by contamination by Salmonella and Campylobacter spp. continues to increase. Researchers have been investigating ways in which food safety can be improved without sacrificing product quality and wholesomeness. The sensitivity of these pathogens to low-dose irradiation has been studied in several food products. Survival curves have been elucidated, and some studies on the effects of storage atmosphere, storage temperature, heating, and various treatments in combination with irradiation have been conducted. This review presents background information on this technology, with an emphasis on the radiation sensitivity of some pathogens of importance. Suggestions for future work in this area are also discussed.

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