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Food irradiation is the process of treating food with ionizing radiation to eliminate germs and possible disease from the food. The need to treat food for the presence of germs has been known since the work of Louis Pasteur and the invention of the pasteurization process. Food irradiation is a technology that is generally supported by government agencies and food companies. It reduces the spoilage of food and increases the shelf life of a wide range of products. Various techniques are used in irradiation, including bombardment by electrons, xrays, and gamma radiation. Some consumer groups are concerned with as yet unknown side effects of the process, and oppose food irradiation.

In the United States, a small number of foods are treated with irradiation for specific purposes. ...

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