(From The American Dietetic Association Position: Food irradiation)
The safety of food irradiation has been examined more extensively than safety issues of any other food technology or additive.
Irradiation does cause changes in food, all of which have been found to be benign. More than 40 years of multispecies, multigenerational animal studies have shown no toxic effects from eating irradiated foods (22). Additionally, human volunteers consuming up to 100% of their diets as irradiated food have shown no ill effect (8). Irradiation produces so little chemical change in food that it is difficult to design a test to determine whether a food has been irradiated (23).
The American Medical Association's Report of the Council on Scientific Affairs on Food Irradiation (10) agreed with a WHO policy statement (4,24) released in 1992:
"Irradiated food produced under established Good Manufacturing Practices is to be considered safe and nutritionally adequate because: i) the process of irradiation will not introduce changes in the composition of the food which, from a toxicological point of view, would impose an adverse effect on human health; ii) the process of irradiation will not introduce changes in the microflora of the food which would increase the microbiological risk to the consumer; iii) the process of irradiation will not introduce nutrient losses in the composition of the food,which, from a nutritional point of view, would impose an adverse effect on the nutritional status of individuals or populations (10)."
Prepared Summer 1997 by Bernadene Magnuson, Ph.D.
University of Idaho, Dept. of Food Science and Toxicology - EXTOXNET FAQ Team.