Health Tip: Irradiated Food Isn't Dangerous

Process kills disease-causing germs

(HealthDayNews) -- Irradiation is a fairly recent safety technology that can eliminate disease-causing germs from foods, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Like pasteurization of milk or pressure cooking of canned foods, treating food with ionizing radiation can kill bacteria and parasites. Studies show that when irradiation is used, disease-causing germs are reduced or eliminated, foods do not become radioactive, and their nutritional value is unchanged.

At low doses, irradiation can be used on foods to eliminate insects. It also can inhibit the growth of molds, inhibit sprouting, and prolong foods' shelf life.

At higher doses, irradiation can be used on meat, poultry, grains, seafoods, fruits and vegetables to eliminate parasites and bacteria that cause foodborne disease. It's likely to have greatest application for raw foods that are made by mixing materials from many animals together, such as ground meat or sausage.

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