New Standards Issued for Food Irradiation

A new standard from the Geneva-based International Organization for Standardization (ISO) sets out up-to-date requirements for food irradiation using ionizing radiation to control pathogens, reduce spoilage, and extend shelf life.

“Food irradiation: Requirements for the development, validation and routine control of the process of irradiation using ionizing radiation for the treatment of food” (ISO 14470:2011) “will contribute to confidence and transparency among the different stakeholders operating in the food sector and will help provide regulators and consumer representatives with improved information on products, enabling better choices,” said Mariana Funes and Noelia Antonuccio, the two project leaders of the committee that developed the standard. ISO declares that the standard outlines the “minimum necessary” requirements to control the food irradiation process.

Irradiation should be included in the food safety process whenever appropriate, according to the ISO, which calls for irradiation facilities to be designated to operate “in accordance with irradiation process specifications and regulatory requirements.” It calls for food to be packaged in a manner suitable for the irradiation process and in a way that minimizes the risk of cross-contamination after irradiation.

The standard calls food irradiation a critical control point of an HACCP program, “contributing to the minimization of risk from the transmission of pathogenic micro-organisms to consumers.”

Copies of the standard can be purchased online at the ISO’s website.

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