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VNIIFTRI develops new methods for controlling irradiation of food products

19 January 2022

Moscow region, January 19, 2021 – Specialists of FSUE “VNIIFTRI” have completed the first stage of developing new methods for detecting the fact of food product processing with ionizing radiation (IR) and controlling the dose of IR used for processing. New methods will allow obtaining reliable information about the radiation processing of products - the fact of irradiation, determining the dose and time elapsed since the moment of irradiation - and avoiding unacceptable risks associated with harmful effects on the human body.

The developments are based on the use of electron paramagnetic resonance spectrometers (EPR spectrometers) * - devices that allow determining the number of paramagnetic centers (PC) in the solid parts of food products. The intensity of the received signal increases with an increase in the concentration of PCs, and hence the applied dose of radiation.

«Radiation processing of products is widely used in the food industry - it allows you to increase the shelf life of products, improve their safety and quality characteristics. However, the imperfection of the methodological and metrological support in this area and the radiophobia of the population have led to the fact that manufacturers do not always label processed products properly**.

VNIIFTRI scientists, together with specialists from Rospotrebnadzor, have conducted studies on the effectiveness of the EPR spectrometry method to determine the fact and volume of irradiation of food products and developed new methods for controlling such processing for a number of food products,” said the head of the research department for acousto-optical measurements (NIO-9) of FSUE "VNIIFTRI" Alexey Aprelev.

The methods proposed by the institute’s specialists based on the EPR spectrometry method will make it possible to identify food products the processing of which is prohibited by IR, and (or) products that have undergone IR processing, but do not have information about the processing on the label or in the name. These methods are primarily suitable for products containing bone tissue, cellulose, and granulated sugar, since it is known that, upon IR irradiation relatively stable free radicals are formed in these substances, which are detected by EPR spectrometry.

At the same time, using EPR spectra, it is possible to determine the dose with which the product was irradiated in the range of 1-50 kGy under the following conditions: processing date is known, used EPR spectrometer is traceable to the State Primary Standard of the unit of the number of paramagnetic centers (GET 83-2017), relaxation parameters of free radicals in the product after irradiation are studied.

At the moment, VNIIFTRI has developed a method for testing meat of cattle and poultry containing bone tissue.

A promising area of ​​research is to study the applicability of the EPR method to control the irradiation of dried fruits, nuts and other long-term storage products.

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