Health concerns regarding consumption of irradiated food

Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2004 Dec;207(6):493-504. doi: 10.1078/1438-4639-00321.


Food irradiation is being promoted as a simple process that can be used to effectively and significantly reduce food-borne illnesses around the world. However, a thorough review of the literature reveals a paucity of adequate research conducted to specifically address health concerns that may directly result from the consumption of irradiated food. Consequently, there is considerable debate on the issue of health concerns from irradiated food among international agencies and between different nations. This report presents a critical review of scientific data and recommendations from different agencies and consumer groups. The objective of this review is to provide the scientific community and the general public with a balanced discussion on irradiated food from the viewpoint of an environmental or public health professional. As a result of this review, the authors conclude that current evidence does not exist to substantiate the support or unconditional endorsement of irradiation of food for consumption. In addition, consumers are entitled to their right of choice in the consumption of irradiated versus un-irradiated food. Different countries should further evaluate their local and global risks and benefits prior to developing and recommending national and international food irradiation policies.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Consumer Organizations*
  • Cyclobutanes / toxicity
  • Europe
  • Food Irradiation* / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Foodborne Diseases / prevention & control
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Legislation, Food*
  • Mutagenicity Tests*
  • Public Health
  • United States
  • United States Department of Agriculture
  • United States Food and Drug Administration
  • World Health Organization


  • Cyclobutanes