I just returned from the 18th annual CIRMS meeting, held at NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) outside Washington D.C.
If you are new to this irradiation technology, CIRMS stands for the Council on Ionizing Radiation Measurements and Standards. CIRMS is an independant, non-profit council that draws together experts involved in all aspects of ionizing radiation to discuss, review, and assess developments and needs in the field.
I currently serve on the Executive Committee of CIRMS as 1st Vice President.
With regard to the process of food irradiation, this years meeting had many great speakers from the FDA, USDA, GMA, industry, and top academic universities. Some of the interesting topics include:
- Irradiation to enhance microbial safety of fresh fruits & vegetables
- In-line sterlilization of surfaces for pharmaceutical and food packaging applications using electron beams
- FDA Food Labeling update
- GMA update on commercial food applications
With the worldwide ban on the toxic gas Methyl Bromide on the food supply to kill pests, irradiation technology offers a very clean and “green” solution that adds no harmful chemicals or residue to our food.
Check back for more updates, as I will try to explain the benefits that this technology offers in simplistic terms.