By Bruce Blythe
Published on 04/01/2010 01:21PM by The Packer
Chip Starns sees big irradiation opportunities south of the border.
Starns said his company, Houston-based ScanTech Sciences Inc., plans to build 20 irradiation plants in Mexico and Central and South America over the next five years to process fresh fruits and vegetables headed for the U.S.
The U.S. market for irradiated produce is poised for significant expansion, Starns said, as traditional treatment methods are phased out and the food industry seeks more effective, efficient ways to combat pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella.
“It’s pretty much in the infancy stage, but you can see the wave coming,” said Starns, ScanTech’s vice president. Irradiation “could open up even more an already-global food supply.”
ScanTech uses an electron beam to break down the DNA of bacteria and insects, killing them or making them unable to reproduce. Other types of irradiation use gamma or X-rays.