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Irradiation to Ensure the Safety and Quality of Prepared Meals

English STI/PUB/1365 978-92-0-111108-1
375 51 45.00 2009

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This publication presents the results of an FAO/IAEA coordinated research project (CRP) on the use of irradiation to ensure the safety and quality of pre-prepared foods. There is an increasing worldwide demand for pre-prepared and take-away meals. However, the traditional methods of preparing convenience foods via retort-processing and freezing are being replaced in favour of chilled foods, due mainly to their fresher and often more appealing appearance. Chilled prepared foods, however, are non-sterile and their heightened potential for microbiological contamination creates a considerable limitation to their shelf-life. The findings of this CRP demonstrate that radiation processing of pre-prepared meals results in a safer product by eliminating existing pathogens, and thereby reducing health risks while extending the foods’ commercial shelf-life. This publication presents the findings of the CRP and offers a discussion of the possible further utilization and marketing of this new application of irradiation technology.

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