Does food irradiation change the food in any way?
All food preservation techniques cause chemical changes in food – that is how they work. The changes caused by food irradiation (for example the production of free radicals) are similar in nature and extent to those caused by other preservation techniques, such as cooking, canning and pasteurisation. There may be some vitamin loss but this would occur with any other preservation technique or even just long-term storage. There is no evidence that any of the changes caused by food irradiation pose a risk to the health of consumers.
The law covering food irradiation states that irradiation can only be used where it is of benefit to the consumer. A company that wants to irradiate a food product, has to be able to show that the benefits of irradiation (for example reducing the risk of foodborne illness) outweigh any negative aspects (for example the loss of some vitamins). This will vary between different foods and means that the use of food irradiation is more suitable to some foods than others.