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November 5, 1960

Radiation Preservation of Foods

JAMA. 1960;174(10):1310-1311. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.63030100003016a

Many advanced methods of preserving foods have been developed, but all have limitations. With the possible exception of freezing and refrigeration, most processes limit the usefulness of a food or alter its characteristics undesirably. Hence, food research workers constantly seek new and improved preservation methods. In recent years, the use of radiation has shown great promise.1-4

Processing  In radiation preservation gamma rays or electron beams destroy the spoilage micro-organisms. Both have similar effects although they differ in the manner in which they penetrate the food and are absorbed. In all cases, except where the energy level of the rays is extremely high, the energy is dissipated as harmless heat.Gamma rays are derived from radioactive materials, such as Co60, which in their decay emit gamma radiation. Such materials are produced in large quantities in atomic reactors either as fission products or by irradiation with neutrons of substances such