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Nowadays, food preservation is essential to guarantee food safety and quality, while maintaining or creating nutritional value, texture and flavor or adding variety to the diet. All of this can be achieved using several different technologies, depending on their purpose and technical and economic feasibility, and consumers’ acceptance of them. Among these processes, food irradiation is gaining momentum as an effective food preservation technology, since it is more environment friendly than other current processes – such as post-harvest chemical fumigation – and has less impact on thermosensitive compounds than thermal technologies. The industrial use of ionizing radiation such as gamma, electron beam, and X-rays is regulated and authorized by international organizations (EU, EFSA, IAEA, FAO, and WHO) for several purposes: medical device sterilization, material modification, heritage preservation and food processing. However, there is mistrust among the general public regarding food irradiation, due to the misconception that it results in radioactivity of the product. Therefore, several obstacles have to be overcome in order to promote food irradiation as a safe and useful application of ionizing radiation. The increasing demand for safe and healthy food is another factor that could help to promote the use of these technologies.

This book intends to present the recent state of the art food irradiation technologies, international legislation, and the impact on the chemical, biological and microbiological parameters of several food products, ending with consumers’ acceptance and market perspectives.

To this book contributed several cutting-edge experts in this topic from all around the world. For this, we are especially thankful to all the authors who spent their valuable time to share their knowledge.

We also thank the staff at the Royal Society of Chemistry, who were always available to answer our requests, were always helpful and gave a valuable contribution to this book.

Isabel C. F. R. Ferreira, Amilcar L. Antonio and Sandra Cabo Verde

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