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Nuclear Explained – How do Nuclear Sciences Ensure Food is Safe to Eat?

Nuclear Explained

Food safety is a critical aspect of public health and global food security. Since consumers cannot always see, taste or smell the threat of contaminated food, food safety laboratories backed by nuclear science serve as a line of defence to detect and prevent food hazards. And when it comes to the spices, seeds, fruits and vegetables that travel from distant origins to your local grocer, a small dose of radiation helps make it possible for food products to stay safe and fresh without spreading sickness or invasive pests. 


  • Carl Blackburn, Food Irradiation Specialist, Joint FAO/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture
  • Shima Shayanfar, Food Scientist, based in the United States of America
  • Sandy Mookantsa, Principle Scientific Officer, Botswana National Veterinary Laboratory

In this episode, our experts will discuss the importance of food safety, the development of global standards and the role of nuclear techniques. They discuss food irradiation, as well as the role of food safety labs to detect harmful residues of veterinary drugs – such as antibiotics, antihistamines and hormones – and pesticides. This episode concludes our three-part series about nuclear and food.

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