The Brazilian Association of Fruit and Derivative Producers (ABRAFRUTAS) participated yesterday (28th) in the Webinar “Challenges and opportunities for Food Irradiation in Brazil”, promoted by the Brazilian Association for the Development of Nuclear Activities (ABDAN) in partnership with Sebrae.
The event was attended by Minister Tereza Cristina, who said she was interested in the subject and that the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Mapa) will pay more attention to the topic so that they can align the actions. “It is a subject that I like, it is very interesting and needs to be taken forward. We want to be aligned with you to shorten the path and the processes ”, declared Tereza Cristina, during a webinar.
The adviser of the Department of Coordination of the System for the Protection of the Brazilian Nuclear Program (Sipron) of the Institutional Security Office (GSI), Tiago Rusin was the mediator of the debate. According to him, food irradiation has been studied by a Working Group entitled as GT7 that aims to boost the application of nuclear technology in Agriculture.
The study points out that foods that are irradiated have a longer shelf life, in addition to pest and disease control, sanitary and phytosanitary security, gains for public health and opening of foreign markets. The advantages are diverse such as reduction of losses in the post-harvest, reduction of deteriorating microorganisms, elimination of pathogenic microorganisms and others. Food irradiation, as presented by Rusin, has already been approved in more than 55 countries for more than 35 foods and the list has grown.
A pilot project was recently carried out in partnership with Abrafrutas, IPEN, STERIGENIS and CENA (GSI / PR and Mapa) which consisted of the irradiation of mangoes. In the experience it was found that in a period of 35 days the non-irradiated mangoes had fly larvae and were deteriorated, as shown in the image, while the irradiated mangoes were in perfect condition for consumption.
The president of Abrafrutas and lecturer of the webinar, Guilherme Coelho, stated that increasing the life span of fruits is extremely important for the growth of exports, as well as for consumption. Currently, Brazil is the third largest exporter of fruit in the world, however, it exports less than 3% of what is produced and this technology would favor opening new markets, automatically also increasing sales to the international market, already consumers of Brazilian fruits.
The Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Marcos Montes, also a speaker, reaffirmed the commitment to make strong progress in this important action. “The technology will help with food waste,” he said. According to FAO, one third of food, that is 1.3 billion tons of all food produced in the world, is lost or wasted every year.
The director of Studies and Prospecting of the Secretariat of Agricultural Policy (Mapa), Luís Eduardo Rangel, stressed the importance of food irradiation for opening new markets. He says that this technology can and should be seen as an ally, mainly by facilitating sanitary and phytosanitary issues that are more bureaucratic in the process of opening new markets.
According to ABDAN, this was the fifth webinar of the Nuclear Trade and Technology Exchange (NT2E) series, in preparation for NT2E – an event scheduled for April 2021.