GENEVA, Switzerland – State-of-the art requirements for food irradiation, a process commonly used to improve quality and safety in food processing, are included in a new International Organization for Standardization (ISO) standard named ISO 14470:2011, Food irradiation – Requirements for the development, validation and routine control of the process of irradiation using ionizing radiation for the treatment of food.

This standard will benefit manufacturers, irradiation operators, regulators, customers and consumers, ISO said. It also provides guidance for meeting these requirements. During the food irradiation process, food is exposed to ionizing radiation to improve its safety and quality. This process is intended to be used only on food that has been produced under good manufacturing practice (GMP) principles.

Food irradiation can be used to control pathogenic microorganisms and parasites; reduce spoilage microorganisms; inhibit the sprouting of bulbs, tubers and root crops; extend product shelf-life, or for phytosanitary treatment.

Providing food irradiation requirements that are consistent with current standards and practices; provide directions for a technical agreement between the customer and the irradiator operator; and establish a documentation system supporting controlling the food irradiation process are the main objectives of ISO 14470:2011.

"ISO 14470 will contribute to confidence and transparency among the different stakeholders operating in the food sector and will help provide regulators and consumer representatives with improved information on products, enabling better choices,” said Mariana Funes and Noelia Antonuccio, the two project leaders of the committee that developed the standard.

This new food irradiation standard was developed by Technical Committee ISO/TC 34, Food products. It is available from ISO national member institutes (see complete list with contact details). It can also be obtained from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 98 Swiss francs (US$106) through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department.