In fact, in the very same year that Becquerel published his work, the suggestion to use ionizing to destroy microorganisms in food was published in a German medical journal.
In 1905 a British patent was issued for use of ionizing radiation to kill bacteria in foods through food irradiation. B. Schwartz of the US department of Agriculture suggested the use of X-rays for inactivating trichinae in pork in 1921.
In depth food radiation studies in the United States began in the early 1950s, when both radiation sources and processing requirement were developed to practical point.
Most of the studies have been government sponsored at least partly because the 1958 Food Additive Amendment to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act required advance proposal from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before any particular irradiated food could be publicly sold.
In the United Kingdom investigations on the effects of ionizing radiation on food began in 1950 at the Low Temperature Research Station at Cambridge an somewhat later at the Wantage Research Laboratories of the Atomic Energy Research Establishment.
Earlier work (1947-1952) was carried out by at least three private companies in the United States. In 1953 President D, Eisenhower made his landmark ‘Atoms for Peace’ address at the United Nations General Assembly. Many nations joined the research on peaceful uses of atomic energy including applications in food preservation.
A similar circumstance prevailed in other countries, resulting, worldwide, in predominantly government sponsored food irradiation research programs.
Because of the lack of research facilities in many third world countries, specialized agencies of the United States also became actively involved in international food irradiation research programs.
In 1976 The Joint FAO/IAEA/WHO Expert Committee on the Wholesomeness of Irradiated Food gave a clean bill of health to several irradiated foods and recommended that food irradiated to be classified as a physical process.
Food irradiation development