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What does the future hold?

Food safety

Ionising radiation could be used ever more extensively to avoid spoilage to food (damage to fruit and vegetables, germination of potatoes and onions) and also to avoid wastage due to parasites in grain and flour.

Ionising radiation improves the quality of a product by preserving its flavour throughout the time it is kept.

Ionising radiation could eliminate dangerous organisms (pathogenic bacteria, particularly in poultry meat, Escherichia Coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria etc.).

Ionising radiation could offer a useful environmentally-friendly alternative to the use of methyl bromide. This is a gas used for killing off insects and parasites during quarantine treatment of fruit and fresh vegetables.

Methyl bromide is a Class 1 agent, i.e. a carcinogen that destroys the ozone layer and will have to be brought in line with the terms of the international agreement under the Montreal Protocol.

Environmental conservation

In Holland, where the use of methyl bromide for farming has already been banned, ionising radiation is used by hothouse growers to sterilise items such as growing mats, pots etc. This enables such items to be reused, with substantial savings for the growers and reduced wastage of plastic materials.

Ionising radiation offers a straightforward method of treating household and agricultural waste for easier recycling and to prevent contamination of the soil and water.

Products that are reused in horticulture as an alternative to peat preserve our peat bogs from unnecessary intensive mining.

Ionising radiation can be used to clean up industrial effluent, thereby preventing contamination of rivers and the sea.