Scope For Future Research

The past 20 years have seen a significant increase in our understanding of the chemical, physical and biological effects of ionizing radiation on food and methodology of irradiation detection, as well as remarkable advances in industrial irradation technology, design of food irradiation plants, dosimetry, and commercial applications. Today the use ionizing energy in the processing of various food items is approved. That the irradiation treatment is a major food preservation method of great potential is quite clear. However, major research efforts are needed to find the combinations of parameters required to maximize achievement of the desired objectives while minimizing unwanted side effects, e.g., softening of certain fresh fruits and vegetables, discoloration, off-flavors. Combinations of irradiation with heat treatment or with the addition of certain additives, e.g.. antioxidants, should be explored further.

Much research is also needed in the area of new applications, e.g., increasing the rate of drying of fruits or hydration of dehydrated vegetables, increasing the yield of juice from grapes for wine making, reducing cooking time of certain products, tenderizing beef.

In this writer's opinion our greatest future attention must be in the area of education and communication. Correct and reliable information, free of political pressure or competitive fears, must be disseminated to enable the consumer to make informed, independent choices and industry to make responsible decisions.

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