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The process of exposing food or other items to radiation of various wavelengths in order to destroy contamination from undesirable organisms, achieve insect disinfestation or delay maturation. It is approved for most produce and some meat products. Recently the Food and Drug Administration approved its use and USDA proposed rules for its use in red meat products. While it has been used for produce and chicken in the Southeast, its expanded use is dependent on the construction of facilities on a wide-spread basis. There are various types of irradiation treatments (gamma, x-ray and ultraviolet) with various characteristics and limitations to consider in building irradiation facilities.

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