LAHORE - Pakistan is one of leading producers and exporters of horticultural commodities but facing around 40 per cent post-harvest losses which can be minimised gradually by using the gamma irradiation process. This was stated by Deputy Chief Scientists of Nuclear Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Fazal Mehmood told APP here on Sunday.
Application of gamma radiation technology to horticultural commodities destined for export will ensure the compliance of WTO regulations and quarantine measures regarding international trade,he said.
After increased sanitary and phyto-sanitary concerns of the importing countries, Pakistani exporters are facing quarantine related problems in their overseas trade.
Exporters are in need of an effective alternate to methyl bromide (an ozone depleting fumigant) to meet the quarantine requirement of importing countries with additional bonus of increasing the shelf life of treated commodities.
Food irradiation is the process of exposing the horticultural produce to ionizing radiation which eliminate the microbes and pests etc. harbouring on the treated materials without harming the macronutrients.
Thus increasing the overall safety of the horticultural produce for human health and to overcome the international trade barriers, irradiated process is necessary, he added.
He said that bulk packaging of onions, potatoes and garlic etc. could be treated with irradiation to inhibit the sprouting in these commodities and thus enabling the shipment of them to long distances as well as prolong storage in the importing markets without quality deterioration. Food irradiation is a safe, cool and physical process and(unlike the chemical treatments) leaves no residues in the treated foods.
Food irradiation is internationally acknowledged as a safe and viable sanitary and phyto-sanitary treatment by World health Organization (WHO), Food and Agricultural Organization(FAO), American Dietetic Association (ADA), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Codex Alimentarious Commission and others,he claimed.