Keywords: food irradiation, irradiators, Ribeira Valley, socioeconomic development, bananas, gamma radiation, Brazil
The socioeconomic aspects of the construction of an industrial gamma irradiator in the Ribeira Valley, Sao Paulo, Brazil
Gamma irradiation processing can be used to destroy bacteria in food as a cold pasteurisation method. It can also be applied to prevent food losses after harvesting, to delay the ripening and ageing of fruits and vegetables, to control sprouting and germination, and to extend the shelf life of perishable foods. Radiation treatment is currently used in Brazil for the sterilisation of disposable medical items in several industrial facilities. Nevertheless, the application of this physical treatment to food has been quite limited until now. The Ribeira Valley is the main Brazilian producer region of banana and tea, although it is poorly developed in terms of per capita income. Those sorts of produce could benefit through the availability of an irradiator in the region. This paper discusses the effects of the construction of a commercial-scale irradiation facility in the Ribeira Valley, focusing on the viability of the project and the socioeconomic aspects.