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Influence of the food-processing techniques on the level of radionuclides in foodstuffs

Objective


The assessment of the fate of some radionuclides in factory by-products and wastes from food processing intended for animal feed showed that by-products are a significant secondary contamination pathway through animal foods.

The influence of cooking (as in domestic preparation) on the removal of ruthenium-103 and silver-110m deposited to mature foliage of cabbage, cauliflower and spinach was investigated by A.E.A. Cooking leaves one day after deposition resulted in a significant decrease of activity: for ruthenium-103, losses of between 22% and 38% were recorded; for silver-110m, losses ranging from 10% (spinach) to 63% (cauliflower) were measured.

Two varieties, each of carrots, peas and potatoes, were cultivated by A.E.A. in a region having relatively high soil concentrations of strontium-90 and caesium-137, for processing (canning) in the pilot plant facilities at Reading.
Considering the two varieties of each vegetable, analysis by A.E.A. showed that there is little, if any, difference in the loss of radionuclides or nutrients during canning.

The actinides removal during canning of vegetables was investigated by I.P.S.N. through experimental processing of green beans, contaminated in the laboratory by root uptake of plutonium-239 and americium-241. The removal of plutonium-239 during canning of green beans was about 40%, mainly due to the removal of stems.

The main topics examined were the influence of different processing technologies and additives on the radionuclide content of vegetables after canning plant products which had been contaminated by indirect transfer (internal contamination).

The results obtained in these various experiments show that, in general, no significant change in the retention of radionuclides contents of vegetables was recorded when modifying the treatment and storage parameters:
The retention of radionuclides by canned vegetables did not exhibit any significant change when the storage time varies from 4 weeks to 4 months.
Variations in the blanching regime used prior to processing vegetables did not greatly affect the retention of radionuclides.
There was no significant trend in the retention of radionuclides when the composition of blanching and/or canning solutions of canned vegetables was modified by a wide range of additives or by pH variation.
THE AIM IS TO DETERMINE THE EXTEND OF RADIONUCLIDE TRANSFER THROUGH THE FOOD CHAIN TO MAN AS MODIFIED BY FOOD PROCESSING, AND THUS TO IMPROVE THE RELIABILITY OF RADIOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT.
FOOD PROCESSING CAN MODIFY THE RADIONUCLIDES CONCENTRATIONS IN THE FINAL PRODUCTS SO MORE DETAILED EXAMINATION OF BASIC PROCESSES IS NOW REQUIRED. IT IS ALSO INTENDED TO ASSESS THE FATE OF SOME RADIONUCLIDES THAT ENTER FACTORY BY-PRODUCTS INTENDED FOR ANIMAL FEED AND TO WORK ON THE INDUSTRIAL PROCEDURES INVOLVED IN THE PREPARATION OF BABY FOODS.
THE PROPOSED PROGRAMME OF WORK COMPRISES THE FOLLOWING INVESTIGATIONS: - EFFECT OF VARIETIES OF CROPS ON THE REMOVAL OF SR-90 AND CS-137 DURING CANNING,
- INFLUENCE OF FOOD PROCESSING ON THE REMOVAL OF RU-106, AG-110M AND AM-241 DEPOSITED TO FOLIAGE OF MATURE LEAFY VEGETABLES.
- INVESTIGATIONS OF THE FATE OF RADIONUCLIDES IN BY-PRODUCTS AND WASTES FROM FOOD PROCESSING THAT ARE RECYCLED FOR ANIMAL FEED.
- STUDY CONCERNING THE RETENTION OF CS, SR, CO, RU AND EVENTUALLY PU IN BABY AND INFANT FOODS.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique
Address
Ctr Etudes Fontenay-aux-roses - Ce-far
92265 Fontenay-aux-roses
France

Participants (2)

AEA Technology plc
United Kingdom
Address
Harwell Laboratory
OX11 0RA Didcot
UNIVERSITY OF READING
United Kingdom
Address
Early Gate 4, Whiteknights
RG6 6AP Reading