UNDERUTILIZED TECHNOLOGY IN FOODS: A CASE STUDY OF FOOD IRRADIATION
1.1 Background to the Study
In the last decade we witnessed an increasing demand for nutritious, fresh like food products with high organoleptic attributes, improved safety and prolonged shelf- life. Non thermal inactivation of microorganisms has been a major reach topic on this subject. Some of the other investigated technologies are high hydrostatic pressure (HHP), pulsed electrical fields (IEF), ionizing irradiation and ultraviolet (UV) irradiation decontamination (Devliegher et al., 2004).
Food contamination is still an enormous public health problem. The irradiation technology is capable of improving food safety prolonging food shelf life and reducing the level of food poisoning (Lacroix, 2005). This technology has gained interest worldwide, in recent years by researchers in the field of food science as well as by food manufacturers and consumers (Simmers, 2004). Food irradiation was endorsed by several authorities (FDA, USDA, WHO, FAO e.t.c.) based on extensive research work. This technology was developed in the early part of the 20th century was applied to a limited extent only. It applied properly, irradiation can inactivate food spoilage microorganisms (bacteria, molds and yeast) in raw and frozen foods in the food supply chain. It can also serve as an effective way of reducing the incidence of food borne diseases (More house, 2002). The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO/IAEA/WHO) joint committee on the wholesomeness of irradiated food approved I. 1981 the irradiation technology (JECFI, 1981). It was stated that irradiation of food at doses up to 10.0KGy (Overall average dose) is safe and introduces no special nutritional problem. The joint FAO/IAEA/WHO study group on High-Dose irradiation (JSGHDI, 1997) concluded that food irradiated yi any dose appropriate to achieve the intended technological objective is both safe to consume and nutritionally adequate.
Kume et al. (2009) studied in 2005 the status of food irradiation world wide using published data together with the response to a questionnaire survey during direct visit that they carried out. The publication contains the most recent available statistical data. The result showed that the amount of irradiated foods in the world was 405,000 tons in the year 2005. It has been reported that only in the united states, Canada and Brazil a total of 116,400 tons of irradiated foods was used. Data from other countries in Latin America such as Argentina, Chile and Mexico could not be obtained for this study.
The application of novel food processing technologies to commercial foods often creates high levels of consumer concerns about the possible risks associated with consuming foods treated by these technologies. The consumer us normally not familiar with the processes applied and the ingredients involved in theanufacturing of foods. This is also true for food irradiation (Hayes et al, 2009; Gunes and Tekin, 2006). Therefore, they are concerned about possible short term and long term health effects (Cardello, 2003; Deliza et al., 2003; Cardello et al., 2007).
1.2 Problem Statement
Food contamination is still an enormous public health problem. The irradiation technology is capable of improving food safety, prolonging food shelf life and reducing the level of food poisoning (Lacroix, 2005). This technology has gained interest world wide, in recent years by researchers in the field of food science as well as by food manufacturers and consumers (Sommers, 2004). Although it has been endorsed by several authorities such as FDA, USDA, WHO, FAO based on extensive research , but it has not been adequately utilized in Nigeria.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The major objective of the study is food irradiation as an underutilized technology in Nigeria.
1.4 Research questions
The above objectives is to be achieved through the following research questions.
(1) what is food irradiation?
(2) why is it referred to as an underutilized technology in Nigeria?
(3) what does radura symbol mean?
(4) what are the potentials of food irradiation in food technology?
1.5 Significance of the study
The present study demonstrates the necessity of education programs in order to familiarize the consumers with the principles, aims potentials and benefits of food irradiation. Such programs could open market to irradiated foods since lack of information and understanding is the main obstacle for spreading the utilization if this technology.
1.6 Scope of the study
The research focus on food irradiation as an underutilized technology in foods.
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