Irradiated food is radioactive


Not significantly more so than any other food. Food, like almost all matter on this planet, contains a certain amount of radioactivity either naturally present or there a result of normal processing or preparation.

The natural radioactivity or that induced during processing, preparation or irradiation is different from that caused by radioactive fallout from nuclear accidents or explosions. The contamination from accidents or explosions can result in highly radioactive substances entering the food chain which can ultimately cause damage to organs and tissues. The amount of radioactivity produced in food from approved irradiation procedures would probably be undetectable in most instances. At the moment food irradiation is not permitted in Australia.

The weight of evidence suggests that irradiated food is not likely to be a hazard to human health. Since it can be used to control spoilage or food poisoning organisms, control insect infestation, delay ripening and inhibit sprouting it might be expected to decrease the hazard from these substances. Irradiation can cause the loss of some nutrients but this is not likely to be significant in the context of the overall diet. Clearly, if irradiation is introduced in Australia there will need to be careful monitoring of its use to ensure that articular individuals are not adversely affected.