New ISO Standard makes food irradiation safer

Issue 35 – February 2012

A new International Organization for Standardization (ISO) Standard provides state-of-the-art requirements for food irradiation, commonly used to improve quality and safety in food processing. ISO 14470:2011, Food irradiation – Requirements for the development, validation and routine control of the process of irradiation using ionizing radiation for the treatment of food, not only provides requirements, but also guidance for meeting them.

ISO 14470 will benefit manufacturers, irradiation operators, regulators, customers, and, ultimately, consumers. The two project leaders of the committee that developed the Standard, Mariana Funes and Noelia Antonuccio, comment: 'ISO 14470 will contribute to confidence and transparency among the different stakeholders operating in the food sector and will help provide regulators and consumer representatives with improved information on products, enabling better choices.'

ISO 14470 aims to:

  • provide requirements for the irradiation of food consistent with current standards and practices
  • provide directions for a technical agreement between the customer and the irradiator operator
  • establish a documentation system to support the controls on the food irradiation process.

Food irradiation

Food irradiation is the process where food is exposed to ionising radiation to improve its safety and quality. Food irradiation is intended to be used only on food that has been produced under good manufacturing practice (GMP) principles. The irradiation of food can be used for different purposes including control of pathogenic microorganisms and parasites, reducing the number of spoilage microorganisms, inhibiting the sprouting of bulbs, tubers, and root crops, and extension of product shelf life or phytosanitary treatment.

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