IRRADIATION AS A METHOD TO SATISFY QUARANTINE REGULATIONS IN TRADE IN TROPICAL FRUITS

P. Loaharanu
Agricultural exports, including tropical fruits and vegetables, are important sources of foreign exchange for many developing countries. These fresh commodities from countries endemic with quarantine pests, especially fruit fly of the Tephritidae family, have to be treated to satisfy strict regulations on plant protection and quarantine in certain major importing countries, e.g. Australia, Japan, and the U.S.A. The prohibition of ethylene dibromide (EDB) as a food fumigant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 1984 followed by Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1987, have jeopardized trade in fresh fruits and vegetables originating from tropical and sub-tropical countries. Alternative treatments to satisfy quarantine regulations such as vapour and dry heat treatment, chilling, fumigation by methyl bromide, phosphine, and cyanide are commodity specific and have been used with limited degrees of success.

Irradiation by gamma rays has been demonstrated as a viable alternative to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The USDA Animal-Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has accepted irradiation as a quarantine treatment against various species of fruit fly infesting Hawaiian papaya in early 1989. The North American Plant Protection Organization (NAPPO) which includes Canada, Mexico and the U.S.A. has also accepted irradiation as a quarantine treatment of fresh fruits and vegetables in late 1989.

A review will be made on the status of research and development on irradiation as a quarantine treatment especially as a viable method to overcome trade barriers on tropical fruits. Research carried out under the sponsorship of FAO and IAEA in the past five years demonstrated that a minimum radiation dose of 150 Gy is effective to disinfest fruits and vegetables against all species of fruit fly tested without affecting the quality of host commodities.

A minimum dose of 300 Gy is effective against mango seed weevil, mites and other insects which are subjected to quarantine restrictions in certain importing countries. An international protocol to demonstrate the efficacy of irradiation as a quarantine treatment on a practical scale will be described. The status of worldwide acceptance of this technology for food processing especially in market testings of irradiated mangoes and papaya in the U.S.A. will also be discussed.

Loaharanu, P. (1992). IRRADIATION AS A METHOD TO SATISFY QUARANTINE REGULATIONS IN TRADE IN TROPICAL FRUITS. Acta Hortic. 321, 837-849
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.321.106
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.321.106

Acta Horticulturae