Zapping food to keep it safe Food manufacturers use three types of irradiation to reduce pathogens, destroy insects and delay spoilage of imported fruits and vegetables, ground beef, oys-ters and spices. Gamma-ray technology is Gamma rays Steel containers loaded with food products travel along an overhead conveyor system. Electron beams Cardboard boxes loaded with food products travel along a conveyor system into an irradiation chamber. Two electron beams penetrate the food products. The beams are switched off when not in use. The containers are lowered into a water tank storing radioactive Cobalt-60. The water shields the facility from gamma rays emitted by the material. Food type and its fresh-or- frozen state determines the target irradiation dosage. Devices called dosimeters placed with the product indicate when the food has absorbed the target dosage. The conveyor system’s speed determines how long food is exposed to electron beams, determining the target dose. The conveyor system’s speed determines length of exposure, determining the target dose. X-rays Cardboard boxes of food products enter an irradiation chamber. An electron beam hits a thin metal plate that decelerates the electrons, generating X-rays that penetrate food. The beam is switched off when not in use. Drawings are schematic. Cobalt-60 stored in watertight container Electronbeam Metalplate X-rays

SOURCE: Sources: Gray-Star Inc., Sadex Corp., RayFresh Foods Inc..