Food In Canada

Ottawa firm builds continent’s first food-only gamma irradiator

By Food in Canada staff   

Facilities Maintenance Research & Development Fruit & Vegetables food processing equipment fruit irradiation

Irradiator to be used to rid Mexican fruit of pests

Ottawa, Ont. – Nordion Inc. has built the first gamma irradiator in North America intended only for use on food products.

The irradiator was custom-made for Mexico’s Benebion, which offers phytosanitary services to fruit and vegetable exporters. The unit will be used at the company’s facility in Matehuala, Mexico, to rid fresh fruit of insects.

The facility will have an annual capacity of 300,000 metric tonnes.

Nordion, which offers products and services to the health science market worldwide, will also supply Benebion with cobalt-60 (Co-60), the isotope used in gamma sterilization.


A Nordion pallet irradiator, similar to the custom-built unit installed in Mexico.

During gamma sterilization foods are exposed to measured amounts of ionizing radiation from Co-60, which kills any insects and reduces harmful bacteria. It does not change the flavour or nutritional quality of foods.

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