Food safety through food irradiation: Should it be adopted more by the EU?

Rodolfo M. Nayga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Food Irradiation is a food safety technology that can eliminate disease-causing germs from foods. Like pasteurization of milk, treating food with ionizing radiation can kill bacteria that would otherwise cause foodborne disease. Foodborne illnesses are ever present and have serious health and economic consequences. In the US, food irradiation is approved for use in various foods. The number of supermarkets and restaurants in the US that offer irradiated products has increased dramatically in the last three years. Preliminary economic experiments in the US suggest that consumer willingness to pay for irradiated ground beef is substantially greater than the additional costs associated with irradiation. The use of food irradiation as a food safety tool that could complement rigorous food safety programmes is rather limited in Europe. So far, the list of products authorized for irradiation within the whole EU contains only a single food category: dried aromatic herbs, spices, and vegetable seasonings. With increasing demand by regulatory authorities on food safety from 'farm to fork' and the globalization of food trade, EU producers and consumers may benefit from wider adoption of irradiation of food products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-39
Number of pages4
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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