Submitted to: Journal of Radiation Physics and Chemistry
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 5, 2004
Publication Date: March 7, 2004
Citation: Sommers, C.H., Fan, X., Niemira, B.A., Rajkowski, K.T. 2004. Irradiation of ready-to-eat foods at usda's eastern regional research center - 2003 update. Journal of Radiation Physics and Chemistry. 71:511-514. Technical Abstract: Ionizing radiation is a safe and effective method for eliminating bacterial pathogens from food products and disinfestation of fruits and vegetables. Since 1980 research has been conducted at USDA's Eastern Regional Research Center pertaining to the elimination of food-borne pathogens from meat, poultry, fruit and vegetable products. Recent work has focused on elimination of pathogens such as Escherichia coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., and Listeria monocytogenes from ready-to-eat (RTE) food products including hot dogs, bologna, lettuce, cilantro, sprouts and seeds, and frozen vegetables. The ionizing radiation dose required to eliminate those pathogens from RTE foods has been found to be commodity, formulation and temperature dependent. The need to eliminate bacterial pathogens from RTE food products must always be balanced with the maintenance of product quality. In addition to determining the effective ionizing radiation doses required for pathogen elimination the effects of irradiation on product chemistry, nutritional value and organoleptic quality have also been determined.