PRESERVATION OF FOOD BY LOW-DOSE IONIZING ENERGY
QUARTERMASTER RESEARCH AND ENGINEERING COMMAND NATICK MA
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Research on preservation of food by ionizing energy has encompassed both high dosage and low dosage studies. The results from the former, particularly in regard to energy sources, dosimetry, dose distribution, induced radioactivity and wholesomeness, are almost entirely applicable to the latter. The major differences between the two dosage ranges lie in the sensory effects on the food items and in the packaging requirements. Among the meats, pork has responded best to irradiation processing in regard to flavor. At the low dose range, flavor change in pork is imperceptible. Chicken also is most promising. Marine products are improved by low dose treatment so that increased distribution and marketing channels may be utilized. Vegetables, because of their delicate structure, are easily damaged by comparatively small dosages of radiation. Fruits present a simulating field for further study because they are preferred especially for their fresh natural flavors. Strawberries, grapes, peaches, tomatoes, and citrus fruits have shown promise at radiation dosage ranges between 200,000 and 800,000 rad. The enormous nutritional and toxicity study is approaching its final phases including detailed histopathology and very long-term carcinogenic and enzymological experimentation. There is no radioactivity induced in the food products by any irradiation process contemplated to be used for food production. Results indicate that no serious problems exist in packaging in the low dose range.
- Food, Food Service and Nutrition