Some food producers use irradiation in the form of gamma rays, electron beams and X-rays, to kill bacteria and insects. In August, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration began allowing irradiation of fresh produce, specifically spinach and iceberg lettuce. Meat has been irradiated for years. Since the recent salmonella outbreak in peanut products, there has been renewed interest in irradiation as a way to prevent food borne illness.
Bill Freese, science policy analyst at the Center for Food Safety, says the CFS has determined that irradiation can destroy the vitamin content of foods. It can also create mutagen by-products which can be harmful.