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How is radiation used in food preservation?

Radiation is used in food preservation by killing microorganisms that cause spoilage and disease.

Radiation can be used to preserve food by killing microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi that cause spoilage and disease. This is done by exposing the food to ionizing radiation, which damages the DNA of the microorganisms and prevents them from reproducing. The most commonly used sources of ionizing radiation for food preservation are gamma rays and electron beams.

Gamma rays are produced by the decay of radioactive isotopes such as cobalt-60 or cesium-137. These isotopes are stored in a shielded container and the gamma rays are directed at the food to be preserved. Electron beams are produced by accelerating electrons to high speeds and directing them at the food. Both gamma rays and electron beams are highly penetrating and can be used to treat large volumes of food quickly and efficiently.

Radiation can be used to preserve a wide variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, meats, and spices. It can also be used to sterilize food packaging materials such as plastic and metal. The use of radiation in food preservation is regulated by national and international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure that it is safe and effective.

Overall, radiation is a powerful tool for food preservation that can help to reduce food waste and improve food safety. While there are some concerns about the safety of irradiated food, studies have shown that it is safe for human consumption and does not cause any harmful effects.

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