Food can be preserved by irradiation which is the exposure of food to ionising radiation, high energy electron from electron beams or X-rays or gamma rays from Cobalt-60 or Cesium-137 radioisotopes. Irradiation does not leave a residue in the food and it does not make it radioactive. The low level energy levels of Cobalt and Cesium isotopic gamma rays does not induce any radioactivity. Irradiation has the same preservative effect on food as heat treatment, but because irradiation does not appreciably raise the temperature of the food, it is known as 'cold sterilization'.

Irradiation can potentially be used to preserve fresh meat, poultry, sea food, vegetables, fruits, grain and other foods which harbor disease causing microorganisms and also extend shelf-life. Other potential advantages include replacement of chemical fumigation to control insect infestation of grains, cereals, flour, fruits and vegetables, and partial replacement of food additives such as nitrite in cured meat.

One of the characteristic advantages of the irradiation process is that the product can be irradiated after it has been placed within its container, and sealed so that recontamination after processing is prevented. It is not possible for the product itself to become radioactive, and there are no residue of any kind left by the process. Once treated, foods are ready for use or consumption.

Irradiation can cause changes in the physical properties of some packaging materials which alters the strength, color, sealability, or barrier properties of the materials hence this study was to confirm the effects of irradiation on the rate of water vapor transmission of the food packaging materials selected for the test.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Foods--Packaging--Testing; Plastics in packaging--Moisture--Testing; Plastics--Permeability--Testing; Irradiation

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Department, Program, or Center

Packaging Science (CAST)


Fritz Yambrach


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at TP1183.F5 V377 1989


RIT – Main Campus