Narrator: This is Science Today. Food irradiation is a process in which a product is exposed to a small, carefully measured burst of an electron beam to kill bacteria and parasites that would otherwise cause foodborne disease. But over it's long history, irradiated food has never been a popular sell among the American public. But University of California, Davis food marketing expert Christine Bruhn, says consumer attitudes about food safety are changing, due to an increase in food recall incidents.
Bruhn: Within California itself, we have had some years where as many as 500 kids had foodborne illness traced to the school lunch program. Now, the data doesn't show exactly what that food source was, but that's not acceptable.
Narrator: Bruhn says, consumers' early rejection of irradiation was largely based on fear and misunderstanding.
Bruhn: People, some say you don't need it and it's going to be a hazard - time has shown irradiation saves lives because it does destroy those harmful bacteria before you're bringing it into your home.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.