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Revista chilena de infectología

versión impresa ISSN 0716-1018


ROSSI, Laura et al. Radiation on the dining table . Rev. chil. infectol. [online]. 2009, vol.26, n.4, pp.318-330. ISSN 0716-1018.

Zero tolerance to bacterial contamination means considering the acceptance of "radiation on the table". The process of food irradiation has been extensively studied, nevertheless its use remains a matter of some controversy. Despite unanimous agreement within the medical community of the safety of this procedure, occasional concerns arise from the consumers. Acommon consumer misconception is that irradiationmay turn the food "radioactive". A significant number of scientific studies on the topic were analyzed. We found no scientific study demonstrating that consumption of irradiated food might pose a risk to consumers. All studies conclude that food irradiation at the appropriate dose required to reduce contamination is safe and does not affect its nutritional valué. In order to emphasize the issue we discuss the potential benefit vs harm of irradiation of food contaminated with E. coli 0157: H7. The association of this bacteria with severe disease and death has been clearly established in contrast with the lack of a demonstrated risk due to meat irradiation. We conclude that the risks of food irradiation remains "unknown" simply because, after four decades of research, none has been identified. In contrast to the risks of acquiring a food transmitted bacterial disease, the risk of irradiation is negligible.

Palabras clave : Food irradiation; food safe; foodborne illness.

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