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Gamma Rays in Sterilisation

The process by which an object is exposed to radiation is called irradiation.  Gamma irradiation can be used to preserve foods. The radioisotope Colbalt-60 is used as the source for gamma rays. The gamma rays from this source kill bacteria, mould, parasites and insects. They also inhibit germination and premature ripening in fruits and vegetables. This helps to prolong the shelf life of the food. The food itself does not become radioactive.

The Radura logo below is used to indicate the food has been treated by radiations.

Radura Logo

Medical equipment is also sterilised using gamma radiation. Sterilisation by this method is more advantageous than heating in the case of plastic equipment such as syringes as it avoids heat damage.