Friday, February 15, 1963: Irradiation

   The process of irradiating food is approved by the U.S. government, with the first food being canned bacon (to preserve it longer). In August, wheat and wheat powder would be added (to kill insects). The labeling symbol for irradiated foods would be adopted in 1986.

   From a U.S. Department of Agriculture fact sheet (link below):
   Food irradiation is a technology for controlling spoilage and eliminating foodborne pathogens. The result is similar to pasteurization. The fundamental difference between food irradiation and pasteurization is the source of the energy used to destroy the microbes. While conventional pasteurization relies on heat, irradiation relies on the energy of ionizing radiation. Food irradiation is a process in which approved foods are exposed to radiant energy, including gamma rays, electron beams and X-rays. ... Irradiation of meat and poultry is done in a government-approved irradiation facility. Irradiation is not a substitute for good sanitation and process control in meat and poultry plants. It is an added layer of safety.
* USDA fact sheet: @
* Summary from U.S. Food and Drug Administration: @
* Summary from Cooperative Extension Service, University of Georgia: @
* Historical milestones (also from University of Georgia): @
* U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (pages 548-549; 1964): @
* "Irradiated Food Questioned" (FDA news release, 1965): @
* "Irradiation of Foods -- An FDA Perspective" (1986): @
* Safety of Irradiated Foods" (J.F. Diehl, 1995): @
* "Food Irradiation: A Reference Guide" (Vanessa M. Wilkinson and Grahame Warwick Gould, 1996): @ 
* "Food Irradiation: Available Research Indicates That Benefits Outweigh Risks" (General Accounting Office, 2000): @
* "Irradiation and the 'Ick Factor' " (New York Times, 2011): @ 

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