The Safety Of A Food Supply

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The stability of a food supply is often the most important thing a society can offer to its people. However, in a changing global environment filled with bacteria, viruses, and disease, scientists and farmers have continually tried to find ways to make food safer for consumers. The normal way currently is to use pesticides and preservatives to keep diseases at bay and keep food from going bad and possibly causing harm to those who eat it. Some researchers, however, are still looking for safer and more effective ways to preserve food, and the idea of food irradiation has been around since the early 1900’s. Anything involving radiation often scared consumers and makes them not trust the quality of the food, because they do not believe that…show more content…
The FDA greatly expanded the use of food irradiation in the year 1986, even though it was already used for things such as wheat, flour, and potatoes. Before this time, radiation was thought of in food terms as an additive, not a process the food must go through. In fact, by 1988, some nineteen major countries had laws in place that allowed for certain foods to be irradiated to help better preserve them. The world is beginning to realize this form of preservation as a viable option, and the only thing left is for the consumer and the government to decide whether or not this should be a commonly used method. Food irradiation has many variables that make it exactly what it is. There are different types of irradiation that work on different types of food, and accomplish different tasks such as sterilization, disease prevention, or even acting as an insect repellent. The thing that truly defines the different types, however, is the type of radiation used. The most effective types include electron beam radiation, gamma ray radiation, and x-ray radiation. Electron beam radiation is the shortest in terms of time needed to irradiate the food, but it also does not penetrate very deep, only about half a centimeter. This type of ray radiation is used to merely disinfect things like wheat and some grains. Gamma ray radiation is the use of Cobalt-60 in most places to irradiate the food. In fact, this type of radiation can penetrate up to six inches.
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