First recognized in 1895, X-ray irradiation soon became a breakthrough diagnostic tool for the dental and medical professions. However, the food industry remained slow to adopt X-ray irradiation as a means for controlling insects and microbial contaminants in food, instead using gamma and electron beam (E-beam) irradiation. However, the reinvention of X-ray machines with increased efficiency, combined with recent developments in legislation and engineering, is now allowing X-ray to actively compete with gamma irradiation and E-beam as a microbial reduction strategy for foods. This review summarizes the historical developments of X-rays and discusses the key technological advances over the past two decades that now have led to the development of several different X-ray irradiators capable of enhancing the safety and shelf life of many heat-sensitive products, including lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, and raw almonds, all of which have been linked to high profile outbreaks of foodborne illness.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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