Food safety and quality

We provide assistance to countries, using nuclear and related techniques, to ensure the safety and quality of food and agricultural commodities and to facilitate international trade. We pursue a ‘farm-to-fork’ approach that ensures the application of good agricultural practices throughout the food chain.

  • Food safety

    Ensuring food safety has become an increasing concern for the health of consumers, strengthening of food security and promotion of international trade. Using nuclear techniques, the IAEA assists Member States with food irradiation, the detection of contaminants, verification of the origins and authenticity of food, and the establishment of international standards. Read more →

  • Food irradiation

    Irradiating food has the same benefits as when it is heated, refrigerated, frozen or treated with chemicals, but without changing the temperature or leaving residues. The technique controls spoilage and food-borne pathogenic micro-organisms or insect pests without significantly affecting taste or smell. Read more →

  • Food contaminants

    Ensuring food safety and quality is a central public health concern. Food can be contaminated by toxic metals, pesticides and veterinary drug residues, as well as organic pollutants, radionuclides and mycotoxins. Radiometric and related techniques, tailored to local needs, are used in supporting national programmes to control such contaminants. Read more →

  • Analysis and sampling

    To develop effective food control systems, regulatory bodies and laboratories in Member States must have the capability to apply sound sampling schemes and analytic methods. Our efforts focus on the development of sampling and analytical methods for transfer to regulatory and research laboratories in Member States. Read more →

  • Traceability and authenticity

    Sound food safety systems must include the ability to trace the origins of food in the global supply chain. We assist Member States in improving their laboratory and regulatory capacities in tracing food origin and verifying its authenticity, using stable isotope measurements and complementary fingerprinting and profiling techniques. Read more →


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