US irradiation technology provider SureBeam Corporation has announced the opening of its new Brazilian food processing centre located in Rio de Janeiro.

“This is the first SureBeam processing centre outside the United States,” said Mark Stephenson, vice president of public relations. “It represents a significant opportunity for Brazil to safely export exotic tropical fruit into the U.S. market and provide American consumers with an even greater variety of choices. We look forward to the clearance of the final regulatory hurdles so these exports can begin.”

The company said that prior to approval by the US department of agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in October 2002 authorising the use of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment for fruits and vegetables imported into the United States, the quarantine barrier was generally considered to be the single largest obstacle for the flow of Brazil’s tropical fruit into the US. Now that this approval has been given, however, additional USDA and Brazilian regulatory requirements must be met prior to the market being accessible for exports.

Similar to a microwave oven, SureBeam technology uses electricity as its energy source to irradiate and help eliminate harmful bacteria, such as E.coli, listeria, campylobacter and salmonella. SureBeam processed ground beef and fruit products are already sold across the US in thousands of supermarkets.