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The information contained on this page is provided as general health information and is not intended to substitute as medical advice and direction from your physician or health care provider. Please direct any questions related to your health care provider. In an emergency, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency center.


Irradiated foods

Definition

Irradiated foods are foods that are sterilized using x-rays or radioactive materials that kill bacteria. The process is called irradiation. It is used to remove germs from food. It does not make the food itself radioactive.

The benefits of irradiating food include the ability to control insects and bacteria, such as salmonella. The process can give foods (especially fruits and vegetables) a longer shelf life, and it reduces the risk for food poisoning.

Food irradiation is used in many countries. It was first approved in the U.S. to prevent sprouts on white potatoes, and to control insects on wheat and in certain spices and seasonings.

References

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Food irradiation: what you need to know. FDA.gov website. www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/ucm261680.htm. Updated June 28, 2016. Accessed February 8, 2017.