A process that bathes food with low level gamma rays (x-rays) or an electron beam (e-beam) to reduce or kill microorganisms, such as e-coli, listeria, salmonella and campylobacter that may cause illnesses from exposure to harmful pathogens. This process is also used to increase the life of various foods, allowing them to remain fresh longer. Gamma rays have better penetrating capabilities over e-beams, which may be used in foods that are 3 inches thick or less. Some of the common food items that may be cold pasteurized are fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, potatoes, grains, flour, poultry, and meat. Some consumers are concerned about radiation being used to treat foods, but it eliminates the need for many of the chemical additives and preservatives that are usually found in food products. All foods that have been irradiated must be clearly marked. Cold pasteurization is also known as irradiation or irradiation pasteurization. An alternative to cold pasteurization is bioengineering of foods by altering genes in plants to develop beneficial traits that assist in many different aspects of plant growth, taste, ripening, vitamin enrichment, and insect resistance, reducing the need for pesticides. Common bioengineered foods currently include canola oil, corn, soybeans, and tomatoes.

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