A father-and-son team in the US are hoping to take the food irradiation market by storm. Irad, owned by Dan and Justin Siegel, which currently makes irradiation machines for the medical and industrial markets is to set to branch out into food irradiation, reports the Belleville News-Democrat.
When food is irradiated now, it is in a packed container and exposed to a controlled amount of radiation to kill bacteria such as E. coli. The process is similar to the pasteurisation of milk, and Dan Siegel refers to it as "cold pasteurisation."
The machine that the Siegels hope to sell will irradiate individual pieces of food as they move through a production line, instead of irradiating them in bulk in a container.
Initially, the machine will be geared for beef and chicken products and will sell for between $ 250,000 and $ 500,000, said Justin Siegel.
The machine, awaiting federal government approval, is to be tested at the University of Illinois.
Critics of food irradiation maintain that the process makes food unsafe, however this food safety process is legal in the US.
While the Siegels admit the current irradiation technique can render meat slightly off-colour and change the flavour, they say irradiated food is safe.
"There is unwarranted consumer scepticism," said Dan Siegel. "They think irradiation means you're going to get radiation from eating it."