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The irradiation of food is a technique used to preserve fresh food like fruit, vegetables and meat. The most widely used form of irradiation is with by bombarding the food with gamma rays from Cobalt-60

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Introduction

Physics IB Irradiation of Food The irradiation of food is a technique used to preserve fresh food like fruit, vegetables and meat. The most widely used form of irradiation is with by bombarding the food with gamma rays from Cobalt-60. Through radiation the growth of living cells is suspended or the cells are destroyed as it uniformly inactivates the DNA of unwanted micro-organisms. Irradiation has been used for commercial use since 1989. A question that has arose from the actions of food irradiation is, is irradiated food safe to eat? Through research it has been found that irradiated food is harmful to humans. ...read more.

Middle

It was found that the children who had eaten the freshly irradiated wheat had unusually high rates of chromosomal abnormalities in their blood (especially polyploidy). No such changes occurred in the other group. The same results were found in similar tests. The danger with irradiation is that the DNA is altered and mutations occur. There will be a more distinct pattern found in the future as the effects of radiation are usually long term. There are also problems with the nutritional value of irradiated food. There is evidence that irradiated foods lose vitamin content, particularly vitamin A, C, E and some of the B complex. ...read more.

Conclusion

to pass in and out rapidly, and potential security problems at irradiation plants are all negative impacts of the irradiation of food. Irradiation can kill many insects and pest that infest foods and can substantially reduce the level of dangerous micro-organisms such as salmonella. It is useful for delaying normal ripening and decay processes so that food can be stored for longer. There are however a great deal of disadvantages. Apart from it only being used on a very limited range of foods and that it is expensive, it affects some important constituents of food and creates a new substance called radiolytic products which can lead to cancer. The irradiation of food will only kill 90% of micro-organisms and it is ineffective against viruses. ...read more.

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