Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/12/2012
Publication Date: 6/21/2012
Citation: Follett, P.A. 2012. Hawaii success story in phytosanitary irradiation due to researcher-industry-regulator partnership. Food Irradiation Update. May 2012 issue. Minnesota Beef Council (newsletter).
Interpretive Summary: • Phytosanitary irradiation is used to control quarantine pests in fruit and vegetables exported from Hawaii • In 2012, 5.5 tonnes of irradiated fresh produce were exported from Hawaii • Hawaii Pride LLC is an x-ray irradiation facility on the Big Island • A second food irradiator, Pa-ina Hawaii, is under construction on Oahu • New rules eliminating the labelling requirement could increase exports • Generic radiation treatments developed and tested in Hawaii are being used to export fruit from India, Thailand, Mexico and Vietnam to the U.S. mainland
Technical Abstract: Hawaii is a pioneer in the use of phytosanitary irradiation. Irradiation is an approved treatment to control quarantine insect pests in 17 fruits and 7 vegetables for export from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. Since 2000, the commercial x-ray irradiation facility, Hawaii Pride LLC, on the Big Island has been shipping tropical fruits and vegetables such as papaya, mango, banana, dragon fruit, lychee, longan, rambutan and sweet potato to the U.S. mainland using irradiation. Hawaiian purple sweet potato is the highest volume product with annual exports of more than 12 million lbs (5,500 tonnes). A second commercial irradiator, Pa’ina Hawaii, is under construction on the island of Oahu near Honolulu, which will facilitate treatment and export of an even wider variety of agricultural produce from the islands. The advent of generic radiation treatments for tephritid fruit flies (150 Gy) and other insects (400 Gy), developed by and first used in Hawaii, has accelerated commodity export approvals and facilitated adoption by foreign trading partners. India, Thailand, Vietnam, Mexico and South Africa have followed Hawaii’s lead and are exporting fruit to the U.S. using irradiation, and Australia is exporting irradiated fruit to New Zealand. Current impediments to wider adoption include the labelling requirement, the 1 kGy limit for fresh horticultural products, and non-acceptance of phytosanitary irradiation in Japan and the European Union. At the center of the Hawaii success story is a model partnership between researchers, industry and regulators.