Tracing the History of Food Irradiation

Year Events

1905 First patents for the use ofionizingradiationtargetingpestsinfoods

1920s Irradiation used by Frenchscientiststopreservefoods

1921 U. S. patent to use x-ray irradiationtokill Trichinellaspiralis inmeat

1940 Testing to use irradiation of common foods by the U.S. Department of Army

1958 Amendment of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, defining source of irradiation for use inprocessingfoods

1963 Irradiation approvedforusetocontrolinsectsinwheat

1964 Irradiation approved for usetoextendshelflifeofwhite potatoes

1966 U .S. Department of Army and U.S. Department of Agriculture petition FDA to approve irradiationofham

1970s Irradiation adopted by NASAtosterilizefoodforthespaceprogram

1980 U.S. Department of Army transfers food irradiation program to the U.S. Department of


1983 Irradiation approved for use in spicesanddryvegetablestokillinsectsandbacteria

1985 Low-dose irradiation approved to control Trichinella in pork

1986 Irradiation approved for use in fruits and vegetables to control insects and promote product maturation

1990, 1992 Irradiation approved for used in poultry to control Salmonella and other bacteria by FDA

and USDA, respectively 1997 Irradiation approved for use in beef and other read meat

2000 Irradiation permitted for use in refrigerated and frozen uncooked meat and meat by products and in fresh shell eggs to control Salmonella errorism threats. The postal service handlesmorethan100billionpiecesoffirst-class mail every year, and the average mail carrier handles 2300 letters every day.

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