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  1. Irradiation can reduce food borne illness by killing harmful bacteria
    • Treating raw meat and poultry with irradiation could reduce or eliminate disease-causing bacteria commonly found such as E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Campylobacter.
    • Unlike traditional washing, irradiation kills bacteria throughout the food, not just on the surface, and both fresh and frozen foods can be treated.
    • Packaged food can be sterilized, enhancing its safety for people with weakened or deficient immune systems.
  2. It can reduce food lost to insect and rodent infestation
    • Irradiation is one of very few viable alternatives to methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting chemical used to fumigate grains against insects.
    • It is an internationally approved method of eliminating insects like fruit flies from fresh tropical fruits - like Hawaiian papayas.
    • Unlike chemical treatments, irradiation leaves no residue on the food.
  3. It can increase shelf life by slowing ripening and spoilage
    • Strawberries treated with a low dose of radiation will not mold for up to two weeks even without refrigeration.
    • Irradiated potatoes, yams and onions can be stored for an extended period even if not refrigerated, which increases their availability in underdeveloped countries.
    • Bananas, mangoes and papayas often last two to three times as long after irradiation
  4. It is a proven, effective option for increasing usable food supplies
    • Most spices sold wholesale in the United States are already irradiated to eliminate the need for chemical fumigation, and American astronauts have eaten irradiated foods on space missions since the 1970's.
    • As much as 25% of the world's food production is lost to insects, bacteria and rodents after harvesting.
    • The Centers for Disease Control estimates that known pathogens, most of which can be reduced or eliminated by irradiation treatment, cause 14 million illnesses, 60,000 hospitalizations, and 1,800 deaths each year in the United States, a country with one of the safest food supply systems in the world.

Last updated July 9, 2012, 3:03pm CDT.

 
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