Union Minister Dr Jitendra says, twenty-five food irradiation facilities are operational in the country in private, semi government and government sector for food preservation

New Delhi : Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today shared details of the reforms related to Atomic Energy proposed by Union Finance Minister on 16.05.2020.

These are establishing Research Reactor in PPP mode for production of medical isotopes to promote welfare of humanity through affordable treatment for cancer and other diseases, establishing Facilities in PPP mode to use irradiation technology for food preservation and linking India’s robust start-up ecosystem to nuclear sector by setting up Technology Development-cum-Incubation Centers for fostering synergy between research facilities and tech-entrepreneurs.

In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the Irradiation Technology used for food preservation are as follows:

  1. Disinfestation of insect pests in stored products as well as fresh produce,
  2. Delay in ripening and senescence in fruits and vegetables,
  3. Inhibition of sprouting in tubers, bulbs and rhizomes,
  4. Decontamination of microbes responsible for food spoilage, and
  5. Elimination of parasites and pathogens of public health importance in food.
  6. Quarantine treatment of Agri-produce including fruits and vegetables can be achieved with irradiation which is a mandatory phytosanitary requirement for exporting the agricultural produce to many countries. India has been exporting radiation processed mangoes to USA since 2007. Now export to Australia and Malaysia has also started.

Dr Jitendra Singh pointed out that the irradiation technology offers broad spectrum of socio-economic and business benefits and owing to these attributes, the irradiation technology has been shared with various private entrepreneurs for Food safety, Security and Trade promotion.

The Minister informed that twenty-five food irradiation facilities are operational in the country in private, semi government and government sector for irradiation of various products. In addition, various food business operators (FBOs) and other stakeholders are being made aware about the socio-economic benefits of the irradiation technology.

Dr Jitendra Singh said, the radiation processing of grains (cereals and pulses) as well as spices and their products can help in maintaining their quality for a year; and onion and potato for around 8 months if stored in optimized condition. The radiation technology has immense potential in reducing post-harvest losses of the food. The installation and operation of adequate numbers of food irradiation facilities with required logistics and infrastructures across the country have enough potential to save monetary loss associated with food wastage.

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