Ionizing radiation (gamma rays from the radionuclides cobalt-60 or cesium-137, e-beams) is an effective, nonthermal method to reduce or eliminate food-borne pathogens, including Salmonella spp. both in raw and in cooked meats, poultry, fish, and shellfish. Irradiation treatment, applied as the final processing step, seems to be particularly promising in the case of packed food products, including ready-to-eat food. Final packaged food products can be contaminated from post-lethality exposure, that is, after heat treatment and before packaging. The application of ionizing radiation after packaging can eliminate or considerably reduce both saprophytic and pathogenic microflora in final products. It is of particular importance in the case of ready-to-eat food which is not subjected to heat treatment before consumption. According to hurdle concept technology, the combination of existing and novel preservation methods can ensure safety of food by applying all treatments as mild as possible. Irradiation treatment can be combined with the use of natural antibacterial compounds, such as extracts of spices and herbs, or various packaging systems. Doses of ionizing radiation required for the inactivation of Salmonella spp. in fish and seafood are lower than those used for meats and poultry.
Part of the book: Current Topics in Salmonella and Salmonellosis