Food irradiation, Sterilization of food with ionizing radiations for enhanced preservation and longer shelflife.
Food irradiation is the process of exposing food and food packaging to ionizing radiation, such as from gamma rays, x-rays, or electron beams, without direct contact to the food product. When ionizing radiation passes through a food product, some energy is absorbed by some chemical bonds. Some bonds rupture and produce free radicals which are highly reactive and unstable. They instantaneously rejoin with neighboring compounds and the results are called radiolytic compounds. Food irradiation is used to improve food safety by extending product shelf life (preservation), reducing the risk of foodborne illness, delaying or eliminating sprouting or ripening, by sterilization of foods, and as a means of controlling insects and invasive pests.
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