Food irradiation process control
March 11 - 1:05 pm to 1:35 pm CET
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Plant control parameters help to set the radiation dose to be given to a product. Dosimetry i.e., the measurement of the absorbed dose, is the tool to determine, the dose which has been eventually absorbed by the product.
Radiation absorbed dose is the key quantity that governs the process. Dose is influenced by many irradiation plant and product parameters, such as radiation type, fluency and geometry; conveyor speed or dwell time; food product density and loading pattern.
The overall influence of these parameters on dose distribution must be considered to ensure that the intended technological objective is achieved throughout the production batch.
‘For the irradiation of any food, the minimum absorbed dose should be sufficient to achieve the technological purpose and the maximum absorbed dose should be less than that which would jeopardize wholesomeness or would adversely affect structural integrity, functional properties, or sensory attributes.’ (FAO/IAEA/WHO, 1999; FAO/IAEA/WHO, 1981)
Dosimetry plays a very important role in the quality control of the radiation processing and helps to give the proof that the process has been conducted in a controlled manner.
In the industry, the quality systems are based on the ISO standards of the 9000 family ‘Quality management’, additionally for food irradiation specifically, the 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’ covers all aspects of this process. When it comes to the usage of a specific dosimetry system, ISO/ASTM standards and guides are key documents since they help to assure traceability of the metrological system and to assess uncertainty on dose measurements. These standards and guidance documents demonstrate that dosimetry for food irradiation is well established.