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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Sommers, Christopher

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2005
Publication Date: 5/1/2005
Citation: Sommers, C.H. 2005. Food irradiation as a means to assure food safety [abstract]. Drexel University. p.1.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Ionizing radiation is an extremely effective technology that can be used to inactivate pathogenic bacteria such as E.coli O157:H7, Salmonella spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes and Yersinia enterocolitica in raw and ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. Irradiation of poultry was approved by the FDA in 1993. Red meat was approved for irradiation in 1999. A petition was filed with the FDA in 1999, through the National Food Processors Association, to allow irradiation of ready-to-eat foods such as frankfurters and luncheon meats. Irradiated meat and poultry is now sold in thousands of supermarkets across the country, and irradiated ground beef is now available for purchase as part of the National School Lunch Program. However, each year only about 20 million pounds of irradiated meat and poultry are purchased by consumers due to negative perceptions including worries that irradiated meats taste or smell bad, the mistaken belief that irradiated foods are radioactive, or that irradiated foods cause cancer. The results of 50 years of scientific research that address each of these concerns will be presented.

Last Modified: 05/28/2017
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