Food Engineering

Ionizing radiation for eggs

March 30, 2003


Schematic shows Food Technology Service's irradiation facility, which will be used to to irradiate eggs for Hillandale Farms.


Industry members are lauding the recent decision by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to amend its food additive regulations to include the use of ionizing radiation for the reduction of Salmonella in fresh shell eggs. The decision has also prompted companies to bring irradiated shell eggs to market.

Larry Oberkefell, president and CEO of Titan's Surebeam Corporation, said "This latest FDA approval recognizes not only the safety of our [electronic pasteurization] technology, but also the growing consumer demand that we ensure the safety of our nation's food supply. Every year, Salmonella taints some three million fresh eggs."

Days after the FDA's decision, Lake City, Fla.-based Hillandale Farms announced an agreement with Food Technology Service, Mulberry, Fla., to develop and market irradiated eggs. Hillandale selected Food Technology's gamma irradiation facility because of its ability to process shell eggs by the pallet load. "This ensures fast turnaround and a fresher product," said John Hammond, executive vice president with of Hillandale Farms. He noted that contracting with Food Technology will also enable Hillandale to concentrate on sales and marketing without capital expenditures.