MDS Nordion and Food Technology Service, Inc. (Nasdaq:VIFL – news) today applauded the planned irradiation of Hawaiian fruits as an important development in the effort to give consumers more choices and enhance the safety of the nation’s food supply.

“Momentum is building as more companies join in this effort,” says Food Technology’s CEO, Pete Ellis. “Irradiation is a powerful tool in eliminating pests such as fruit flies, as well as harmful pathogens that cause food-borne illnesses. Whichever of the three irradiation technologies are used, the public benefits from an extra margin of food safety.”

Consumer enthusiasm for irradiated fruit has been proven by the more that one million pounds of HI fruit that has been irradiated using an MDS Nordion-built gamma irradiator just outside Chicago, IL. In addition, for more than a year, Sardina Farms in Florida has been having fruits irradiated at Food Technology for pest control purposed for shipment to TX and CA.

“Irradiation has proven to eliminate food-borne pathogens and prevent food-borne illness. Now consumers have the option of purchasing irradiated products and putting the safest food available on their family’s table,” said Dr. Richard Hunter, Deputy State Health Officer, Florida Department of Health.

Food irradiation has the support of numerous health organizations, such as the World Health Organization, American Dietetic Association, and the American Medical Association. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued final approval of regulations for the irradiation of red meat on February 22, 2000. The Food and Drug Administration first approved the use of irradiation on a food product in 1963 for wheat and flour.

Food can be irradiated using one of three different source technologies, gamma rays, x-rays, or high-energy electron beams. All are perfectly safe and have the same pest controlling effect.

“With increasing acceptance of food irradiation, manufacturers and processors will want the freedom to choose irradiation technology based on factors most appropriate for their product characteristics, including packaging, volume and cost per unit,” adds Craig Hunter, Vice President, Business Development, MDS Nordion. “Normally gamma irradiation provides the best combination of reliability, flexibility and economics. It has proven to be the technology of choice for pest and microbial control at hundreds of sites around the world.”

MDS Nordion is a world leader in irradiation technology. In addition, MDS Nordion ( specializes in radioisotopes, radiation, and related technologies used to diagnose, prevent and treat disease. MDS Nordion is part of MDS Inc., (TSE: MDS, NYSE: MDZ), an international health and life sciences company based in Canada. The company’s 11,000 employees are working together to advance global health through science, technology and innovation.

Food Technology Service, Inc. (Nasdaq:VIFL – news) owns and operates an irradiation facility in Mulberry, Florida. The company uses gamma radiation to treat or process various foods for insect disinfestation, shelf life extension, and control of certain disease causing microorganisms. Food Technology also irradiates consumer products, seasonings and spices, and packaging materials.