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The International Journal of Engineering And Science (IJES) ||Volume|| 2 ||Issue|| 01 ||Pages|| 206-208 ||2013|| ISSN: 2319 – 1813 ISBN: 2319 – 1805

Food-Safety and Quality Maintenance Saravanan P, Sathish Kumar S* 1

MPhil Scholar, Department of Biotechnology, St. Joseph’s College (Autonomous), Trichy-2, Tamilnadu, India 2 Ph.D. Research Scholar, Department of Botany, St. Joseph’s College (Autonomous), Trichy-2, Tamilnadu, India

--------------------------------------------------------Abstract-------------------------------------------------------Food processing and safety is a subject of growing importance to consumers. One reason is the emergence of new types of harmful bacteria or evolving form of older ones that can cause serious illness. E.coli, harmful bacteria can cause life threatening, outbreaks of food-borne illness through contaminated products such as ground beef and unpasteurized fruits.etc. Alternately the available food, raw or cooked, and its storage life have to be enhanced for consumption at any other time of need. This paper will mainly deal with topics on food processing, preservation techniques, irradiation methods, radioactivity substance definition , and its usage methods, and applications, reasons for contamination and decontamination methods, instruments, biological effects and disposal techniques. Radioactivity, particularly in food processing and biological environments, its safety* considerations are discussed in brief. Biological waste disposal due to food degradation will also be discussed along with few personal and area monitoring radiation instruments. Proper irradiation of food likeonion, potato, cereals, eggs, beef are being subjected, and that not only kills the bacteria but also enhances the shelf life of the material.

Key words: Food, irradiation, safety, instrumentation, disposal ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------------

Date of Submission: 31, December, 2012

Date of Publication: 11, January 2013

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- -------------------------------I. Introduction Food processing and safety is a subject of growing importance to consumers. One reason is the emergence of new types of harmful bacteria or evolving form of older ones that can cause serious illness. E.coli, harmful bacteria can cause life threatening, outbreaks of food-borne illness through contaminated products such as ground beef and unpasteurized fruits.etc. Health experts agree that using a process called irradiation can be an effective way to help reduce foodborne hazards and ensure that harmful organisms are not in the foods we buy and consume. During irradiation, foods are exposed briefly to a radiant energy source as gamma rays or electron beams within a shielded facility. Irradiation is not a substitute for proper food manufacturing and handling procedures. But the process, especially when used to treat meat and poultry products can kill harmful bacteria, greatly reducing potential hazards. Cobalt 60 and Cesium 137 irradiation are generally friendlier.


Food Irradiation

Food irradiation process is practiced in 40 and above countries endorsed by the World Health Organization. Irradiation does not make foods radioactive. Nor does it cause harmful chemical changes. They may be at times, cause a small loss of nutrients but not more than with other processing methods such as cooking, canning, or heat pasteurization. Consumers are more interested in irradiated foods nowadays. Many food processors and retailers say that irradiation can be an important tool for curbing illness and death from food-borne illness. Food irradiation is a process in which food products are exposed for a short period to a controlled amount of radiant energy to kill harmful bacteria like E. coli, Campylobacter and Salmonella. The process also can control insects and parasites, reduce spoilage and inhibit ripening and sprouting. The irradiated food is safe for consumption.


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Food-Safety and Quality Maintenance Methodology Of Irradiation

Food is packed in containers and moved by conveyer belt into a shielded room. There the food is exposed briefly to a radiate-energy source the amount of energy depends on the food. Energy waves passing through the food break molecular bonds in the DNA of bacteria, other pathogens and insects. These organisms die or unable to reproduce their numbers are held down. Food is left virtually unchanged, but the number of harmful bacteria, parasites and fungi is reduced and may be eliminated. Once the irradiation is done, it is shown by labeling with either the statement treated with radiation or treated by irradiation and the international symbol for irradiation, the radura is pasted on the packing. Some spices sold wholesale in some countries are irradiated, which eliminates the need for chemical fumigation to control pests. Astronauts have eaten irradiated foods in space since the early 1970s. Patients with weakened immune systems are sometimes fed irradiated foods to reduce the chance of a life-threatening infection. (FDA Consumer magazine May –June 1998). Radioactivity procedures are followed and the treatment and methodologies adopted for the radioactivity, equally holds good for any other chemical, biological wastes etc, since most of the safety methods are almost acceptable. However, additional safety measures have to be followed and that should be taken as case by case dealings. Radioactive isotopes (RAI) are used for different applications in food industries and research laboratories [1] and during its usage, it also contaminates the environment. At the same time, there are chances for polluting the environment, due to continuous disposals. This pollution may be in atmosphere, via air pollution and water pollution Knowledge of the theoretical back ground and handling techniques will reduce the chances of pollution and save radiation exposure [2] while using the instruments or chemicals. A thorough knowledge of the radioactive isotope being used is very much essential for the person in order to utilize it safely and properly to reduce risks [3]. At the same time, one should use the minimum quantity of the isotope to succeed the job. Any little extra material may be unnecessary and its disposal to the atmosphere would further aggravate.


Selection Of Material

It is very important to select the right isotope for the required experimental/application job. It should be as minimum in quantity as required and should have good half-life period, availability and its energy level should be easily detectable with the available instruments. Handling procedures for such isotopes should also be easy and complete scientific information about the material must be known well in advance. Energy level of the isotope should easily be detectable with the available instrument [4]. 4.1 Contagion During the application of RAI, surroundings may be contaminated either directly or indirectly. The reasons for contamination can be numerous. It can be due to the following:  Leakage while handling the material  Spillage during transfer of material  During operation itself  Leakage from the glove box/fume hood/storage points, waste boxes.  Negligence. All these must be carefully controlled to minimize /avoid contamination. 4.2 Distillation It is our primary responsibility that the atmosphere is not contaminated. If contaminated we have to take remedial methods to decontaminate the surroundings quickly. Contamination can occur to the personal and as well as to the area. Hence we look into both situations. Decontamination is the process of reducing the level or removing the contamination. This must be done and continued until the level reaches below the safety limits. 4.3 Personal Decontamination This can be achieved by the following methods, in case person is contaminated.  Cleaning with good amount of tap water.  Cleaning with dilute about 10 percent detergent solution.  Cleaning with 5 percent EDTA solution in 10 percent teepol. Unfortunately, if the radioisotope is taken orally, it must be seen that it has very minimum residence time in the body. Hence it has to be expelled as quickly as possible. For this laxatives are recommended and also physician‘s consultation required.


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Food-Safety and Quality Maintenance 4.4 Instrumentation It is very difficult to know the level and degree of damages that may occur, without instrumentation‘s. Literature says wide range of instruments are available for detection and as well as for measurement. It is considered to highlight few important instruments both fixed and portable type that detect the isotope. Instrumentation can be categorized on its utilization as personal monitoring and area monitoring. Variety of instruments, based on radiological principles is being used in medical, dental and biological fields. To mention a few are X-ray machine, Image processors, Scanners, Dosimeters, Geiger counters etc. 4.5 Personal-Monitoring Instruments Personal monitoring is the assessment and controlling of radiation level for individual. For this purpose certain devices are available. Film badge is one among them. The film badge should be worn during handling operation, even during transpiration RAI from one place to another. The radiation quanta received by the individual is assessed by this. The level received by the operator is checked periodically, generally on a monthly basis. The film badge mainly contains six windows, encased in a small frame arrangement, each window containing metallic/non-metallic film. These films absorb the free radiations around the human being, and analyzing it gives the type and level of radiation received by the individual, which can be estimated. The quanta received by the operator are checked periodically, generally on a monthly basis [5]. Different type of badges are available, viz. wrist badge, chest badge, head badge etc. with the usage of film badges, the level received by the individual can be monitored and also checked that one never exceeds the prescribed limits legislated. Other devices used for personal monitoring are thermo-luminescent detector, pocket dosimeter etc. 4.6 Vicinity Monitoring Area monitoring refers to the regular checking and monitoring of the radiation level of the laboratory or working place or storeroom. For this purpose, instrument like Ionizing chamber, Geiger-Muller counter, Pie counter are used. These help to study the safe limits for the area protection. When premises get contaminated, which is detected by instruments then immediate decontamination of the area has to be undertaken. While decontaminating an area, the procedure followed is like this: first cordon the place with barricades, put show-barriers, clean from top (roof) to wall to floor by wet mopping method only. Brooming is not recommended as the dust may fly all over. Check the level with monitor and repeat the process till it reaches the safe low level. The same instruments can also be used for detection of leaks etc in pipelines, using radiotracer method [6]. 4.7 Removal Method Disposal of RAI is an important aspect and care has to be taken to see that the waste is not disposed as an ordinary waste. Even the radioactive waste can have live radioactive property and has to be treated very carefully. It should be put in PVC bags, tied and buried in pits. If the waste is liquid in nature, large amount of dilution to be done and permitted out. Log-books have to be maintained for the purchase, usage and disposal data etc. Burial pits are recommended for disposal of RAI, and they have to be fenced and proper sign-boards kept. Also placard symbols must be used at all places wherever the radioactive operation is going on. (At storage, usage and disposal sites). After 10 half life period of RAI, it can be considered as normal waste and discharged.



Food safety using irradiation method is considered in this paper. Radioactivity applications are considered and little has been discussed. Very special care has to be taken while handling, storing, using and disposing of radioactive material. During these operations, extreme care has to be taken that it is not misutilised, spilled or polluted. The methods of area and personal monitoring along with instrumentation used are highlighted. When the subject is wide, the author has touched few points and the readers are recommended to look for more details and hoping that these will remain with them. REFERENCE [1]. David Phillips and Robert Maybury, Use of Radioisotopes in the College Chemistry Laboratory Jl. Chem Edn. V 36, No 3, 1959. [2]. K.S.Parthasarathy, Radiation Exposure Concerns, Fears The Hindu, Feb 20, 2003. [3]. Radioactivity Risks, Physics Education, U.K.p 122 –125, 1972 [4]. Ewing, Inst.Methods of Analysis‖ 3rd Edition, 1978 [5]. Film Badge Service Instruction Manual‖ BARC, Trombay [6]. S.M.Rao; Radioisotope Tracer Applications in Chemical Engineering Proc.IICh.E.Golden Junilee, p 323 – 334, 1992


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