Course:FNH200/Lessons/Lesson 10/Page 10.6

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10.6 Irradiation Methods & Doses

Table 10.2 shows the absorbed doses required to achieve a variety of applications ranging from inhibition of sprouting to achieving commercial sterilization of a food commodity.

Table 10.2. Typical applications of ionizing energy for food preservation

Note: Includes examples that are not approved for use in Canada.

Dose (kGy) Purpose Examples
< 1 inhibit sprouting of vegetables

kill insects eggs, larvae

slow ripening

inactivate parasites





1 to 10 eliminate disease causing bacteria (Salmonella, E.coli O157:H7) and parasites

decrease or eliminate spoilage causing microorganisms (eg. mould)

chicken, ground beef, fruit and vegetables

fresh strawberries

10 to 50 kGy decontaminate food ingredients and additives

commercially sterilizes food

enzymes and spices

sterilized hospital diets, foods for use on missions in outer space

Radiation Pasteurization (radicidation, radurization) methods

Radicidation is defined as a process designed to kill or inhibit disease-causing microorganisms (such as vegetative bacteria, yeasts, parasites) in food. Absorbed doses are often below 10 kGy. Foods that have been treated with a radicidation dose of ionizing energy must still be stored under refrigeration since all spoilage-causing microorganisms would not have been killed.

Radurization, a form of radiation pasteurization, has as its objective the killing of the majority of spoilage-causing microorganisms and parasites so that storage life of the food can be extended during refrigerated storage. For example, treatment of fish to kill most of the spoilage-causing psychrotrophic bacteria would extend the storage life of the fish at refrigerated storage temperatures. Absorbed doses for radurization are below 10 kGy (often < 1 kGy).

Radiant Sterilization (radappertization) methods

Radappertization, equivalent to thermal commercial sterilization, involves treatment of food with an absorbed dose of ionizing energy such that disease-causing microorganisms and all spoilage-causing microorganisms capable of growing at the conditions of storage (e.g., at ambient temperatures) are inactivated. Absorbed doses of ionizing radiation are greater than (>) 10 kGy (usually 20, 30 kGy).

Note that in Canada, doses above 10 kGy are NOT permitted!