How are radio isotopes used in food preservation?

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Radioisotopes have many different functions in various industries, like medicine, technology, archaeology, art, and especially the food industry. The main function of radioisotopes used in agriculture and food production is food preservation. They assist in killing harmful bacteria that can cause food-borne disease, while at the same time, they can also increase shelf life.

Consider for a moment how quickly food becomes perishable. With the use of radioisotopes, food can be stored longer. Both the farmer selling the food and the consumer benefit. It is very useful in countries with little access to refrigeration. Another place you will see it used is aboard a space shuttle, where astronauts benefit from irradiated food with a longer shelf life.

Another benefit of radioisotopes and food irradiation is that it eliminates the need to use harmful chemicals for insect control. It does not make the food radioactive, as some believe. Long-term, if food is better preserved, it creates "food security for present and future generations."

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