Iowa Public Television


Irradiation May Prevent E. coli in Produce

posted on December 15, 2006

A possible solution to help prevent the outbreak of E. coli in produce is to treat the fruits and vegetables with irradiation before shipment to the marketplace. But an Iowa State University professor says a quirk in the Food and Drug Administration's rule-making process prevents the use of irradiation for bacterial control of the produce.

Professor Dennis Olson, who is in charge of a commercial-sized irradiation facility at ISU, says the FDA approved the use of irradiation 20 years ago for use only to destroy insects in fruits and vegetables, not pathogen bacteria.

Over the years, the irradiation process has been approved for use in meats, poultry, shell eggs and shellfish to control a variety of harmful bacteria and pathogens.

Tags: bacteria diseases food food safety news radiation vegetables