There has been a problem of perception with the radiation technology. Since radiation is
commonly linked with the destructive power of atom, myths and misconceptions abound,
mainly due to misinformation. The confusion begins with the general inability of people to
differentiate between the process of irradiation and the radioactivity as a contaminant in food
as in case of accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima. It is important for public to know that
radiation processing facilities have inbuilt safety features that prevent human exposure to
radiation. Several studies have shown that when industry and consumers are educated and
made aware of the bene_its of the technology and its safe use, there is a clear change in attitude.
There is willingness to pay by the consumer for the value addition and quality enhancement
achieved through food irradiation. In fact, today irradiated foods are available in several
countries. Radiation processing of fresh fruits and vegetables, spices, meat and meat products is
being increasingly carried out to meet the requirements of quality and quarantine and gain
market access. No adverse comments have been reported from the consumers in these markets.
Further efforts are required to demystify food irradiation for the public.
The note has detailed information on irradiation technology, its benefits, food irradiation facilities in India, public perception, commercial prospects in India and use of irradiation technology globally.