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Irradiated food returns in disguise

23rd January 2001

Britain's leading independent watchdog on food, the Food Commission, today warned consumers to be alert for irradiated food which may be labelled as 'electronically pasteurised' or 'ion-beam sterilised' or use other deceptive descriptions.

Irradiation is a technique for exposing food to radioactive material in order to destroy living cells, preventing further plant growth and killing micro-organisms. Consumer groups fear that the technique will encourage poor hygiene and reduce the food's nutritional value.

'Ten years ago, consumers voted with their purses and rejected irradiated food,' said the report's author, Kath Dalmeny. 'The industry must not be allowed to sneak their unwanted products onto supermarket shelves in disguise.'