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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: POSTHARVEST TREATMENT OF TROPICAL COMMODITIES FOR QUARANTINE SECURITY, QUALITY MAINTENANCE, AND VALUE ENHANCEMENT

Location: Tropical Crop and Commodity Protection Research

Title: Irradiation to control quarantine insects in exported fresh commodities: Pioneering generic doses

Author
item Follett, Peter

Submitted to: American Nuclear Society
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: February 23, 2010
Publication Date: June 14, 2010
Citation: Follett, P.A. 2010. Irradiation to control quarantine insects in exported fresh commodities: Pioneering generic doses. American Nuclear Society. 102:17-18

Interpretive Summary: In 2006, USDA-APHIS published a pioneering rule providing generic low-dose radiation quarantine treatments to control insects. Generic treatments are the culmination of decades of research but not an end point. Future research will focus on development of specific doses for quarantine Lepidoptera not covered by the generic treatment; reduction of dose levels for specific pests and commodities to shorten treatment time; development of generic doses below 400 Gy for important groups of quarantine arthropods other than fruit flies; and development of information on commodity tolerance and novel methods to reduce injury and extend shelf-life. The availability of generic dose treatments makes irradiation an attractive option compared with other quarantine treatments.

Technical Abstract: The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved radiation doses up to 1000 Gy (1 kGy) for preservation and disinfestation of fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2006, USDA-APHIS published a pioneering rule providing generic low-dose radiation quarantine treatments to control insects. A generic treatment is a single treatment that controls a broad group of pests without adversely affecting the quality of a wide range of commodities. The rule approved radiation doses of 150 Gy for any tephritid fruit fly and 400 Gy for all other insects except the pupa and adult stages of Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). The generic radiation treatments apply to all fresh horticultural commodities. Generic treatments are the culmination of decades of research but not an end point. Future research will focus on development of specific doses for quarantine Lepidoptera not covered by the generic treatment; reduction of dose levels for specific pests and commodities to shorten treatment time; development of generic doses below 400 Gy for important groups of quarantine arthropods other than fruit flies; and development of information on commodity tolerance and novel methods to reduce injury and extend shelf-life. Traditionally, quarantine treatments are developed for one pest and commodity at a time, and research could take years to complete, so this first-ever approval of a generic treatment was a huge leap forward. The availability of generic dose treatments makes irradiation an attractive option compared with other quarantine treatments.

Last Modified: 4/23/2014
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