1:20 p.m. Karst: How do you see irradiation developing over the next 10 years?
1:22 p.m. Eustice: I see steady growth. A senior meats person from one of the major retailers sent me a note just last week and said ‘I’m with you 100 percent; we need to use this technology and we need to have it as a tool so we can offer (ground beef) to consumers as a safe product,”
Karst: What do think about the use of irradiation on leafy green vegetables? Do you think that we will ever see that in the market place?
Eustice: First of all, it works just fine. The challenge is the logistics because production is so seasonal. Harvest starts around Brawley, California and moves north. What would be ideal if you could have a facility that would be in a central area and could (irradiate) other types of products, such as medical items. That’s the ideal thing. It is just a matter of finding a niche.
As far as spinach and lettuce, what is holding us back is that a lot of the salad mixes include a variety of different greens and that are not all approved for irradiation (by the FDA). They approved spinach and they approved iceberg lettuce There are several pending approvals of various commodities (at FDA) If we had approval of all green vegetables, that would be helpful. Maybe what it is going to take is another big recall.