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June 2000 Issue

Electronic Irradiation Offers Food Safety Without Environmental Risk

Q. I heard of a new food irradiation process that doesn’t use radioactive elements. Is it safe? A. There are three types of food irradiation: (1) the new electron beam process (brand name SureBeam), often referred to as electronic pasteurization, in which electrons are accelerated almost to the speed of light to produce a high-energy beam, (2) also from SureBeam, a similar electronic X-ray process that zaps deeper and (3) the older gamma nuclear irradiation. In all three, food is exposed to

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