Meat Recalls: A Reason For Irradiation?

"If I had a crystal ball that could predict the future, I'd say the Hudson hamburger incident may lead to consumer acceptance of irradiation in the next four or five years," says Richard Linton, Extension specialist in food safety, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind. "Decades of research on the safety of food irradiation show no changes to the food that are different from any other type of heat processing," adds April Mason, cooperative Extension Service assistant director and a food and nutrition specialist. An instance where irradiation would have been particularly helpful, Mason explains, was last spring when microbial organisms on strawberries and raspberries--foods that often aren't cooked--caused an outbreak of food-born illness. "Data shows that consumers will accept food irradiation when they learn about it and taste irradiated food," says Mason.

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