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E-beam Irradiation Research: New Fact Sheet and Video

Irradiation is approved for food treatment in over 50 countries. In Canada, irradiation is approved for spices, seasonings, flour, onions and potatoes. In the United States, irradiation is approved for use in meat at absorbed doses up to 7 kilo Gray (kGy), and it has been scientifically proven safe for food use at absorbed doses up to 60 kGy. Irradiation has insignificant effects on nutrients in beef, even at very high absorbed doses.

A recently-completed research project, funded by the National Check-off and Canada’s Beef Science Cluster, studied the effectiveness of low-dose electron-beam treatment (at 1 kGy) in eliminating harmful bacteria in beef trim used to make ground beef.  It also studied whether a panel of taste-testers could determine whether or not patties were made with e-beam treated beef based on color, aroma, texture, juiciness or flavor.

The research found that low dose (1 kGy) e-beam treatment can effectively control E. coli O157:H7, non-O157 VTEC E. coli and Salmonella in fresh beef trim under normal processing conditions with no significant effect on any of the sensory attributes.

To learn more about the research project and its results, see the fact sheet here: E-Beam Treatment to Improve Beef Safety (BCRC Fact Sheet)

In the latest episode of the Beef Research School video series, the lead researcher of the study, Dr. Rick Holley at the University of Manitoba, discusses this research.  Dr. Holley explains how e-beam irradiation eliminates pathogens in food and whether beef trim treated with low-dose irradiation is as safe, nutritious and tasty as untreated beef.

See the video here:

Stay tuned for more episodes of the Beef Research School.  Past episodes covered planning pastures, pain mitigation, and antimicrobial resistance. For more information on the Beef Research School, visit

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adminMay 28, 2013

Low-dose e-beam irradiation extends shelf-life of trim by a couple of days, but there are many things that influence shelf-life beyond the treatment.


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