1.1 Background to the Study
In the last decade we witnessed an
increasing demand for nutritious, fresh like food products with high
organoleptic attributes, improved safety and prolonged shelf- life. Non
thermal inactivation of microorganisms has been a major reach topic on
this subject. Some of the other investigated technologies are high
hydrostatic pressure (HHP), pulsed electrical fields (IEF), ionizing
irradiation and ultraviolet (UV) irradiation decontamination (Devliegher
et al., 2004).
Food contamination is still an enormous
public health problem. The irradiation technology is capable of
improving food safety prolonging food shelf life and reducing the level
of food poisoning (Lacroix, 2005). This technology has gained interest
worldwide, in recent years by researchers in the field of food science
as well as by food manufacturers and consumers (Simmers, 2004). Food
irradiation was endorsed by several authorities (FDA, USDA, WHO, FAO
e.t.c.) based on extensive research work. This technology was developed
in the early part of the 20th century was applied to a limited extent
only. It applied properly, irradiation can inactivate food spoilage
microorganisms (bacteria, molds and yeast) in raw and frozen foods in
the food supply chain. It can also serve as an effective way of reducing
the incidence of food borne diseases (More house, 2002). The Food and
Agriculture Organization (FAO/IAEA/WHO) joint committee on the
wholesomeness of irradiated food approved I. 1981 the irradiation
technology (JECFI, 1981). It was stated that irradiation of food at
doses up to 10.0KGy (Overall average dose) is safe and introduces no
special nutritional problem. The joint FAO/IAEA/WHO study group on
High-Dose irradiation (JSGHDI, 1997) concluded that food irradiated yi
any dose appropriate to achieve the intended technological objective is
both safe to consume and nutritionally adequate.
Kume et al. (2009) studied in 2005 the
status of food irradiation world wide using published data together with
the response to a questionnaire survey during direct visit that they
carried out. The publication contains the most recent available
statistical data. The result showed that the amount of irradiated foods
in the world was 405,000 tons in the year 2005. It has been reported
that only in the united states, Canada and Brazil a total of 116,400
tons of irradiated foods was used. Data from other countries in Latin
America such as Argentina, Chile and Mexico could not be obtained for
1.2 Problem Statement
The application of novel food processing
technologies to commercial foods often creates high levels of consumer
concerns about the possible risks associated with consuming foods
treated by these technologies. The consumer us normally not familiar
with the processes applied and the ingredients involved in
theanufacturing of foods. This is also true for food irradiation (Hayes
et al, 2009; Gunes and Tekin, 2006). Therefore, they are concerned about
possible short term and long term health effects (Cardello, 2003;
Deliza et al., 2003; Cardello et al., 2007).
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The present research aimed at learning
about the level of knowledge a d about opinion of consumers on food
irradiation and their readiness to accept products made using this
1.4 Research questions
(1) what is food irradiation?
(2) why the need for food irradiation?
(3) what dies "Radura symbol" mean?
1.5 Significance of the Study
The survey will provide an indication
about the impression of the public regarding the international "Radura"
symbol, indicating a food product that has been irradiated. Another
significance of this study was to provide the interviewed persons and
the readers informative material about the benefits if gamma irradiation
as a process for food preservatives.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The research focus on the perception and view of food irradiation in Nigeria.
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