Tanzania: Nuclear Tech for Food Preservation Planned

The Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission (TAEC) is mulling over introducing a food preservation project using Nuclear energy in the country.

The project will also include the preservation of agricultural products using the energy not only to combat destructive pests and diseases but also to increase crop production and protect land and water resources, the government body responsible for all atomic energy matters said yesterday.

According to the commission's Director General Professor Lazaro Busagala, TAEC is planning to introduce the food irradiation project with a view of reducing the risk of food-borne diseases caused by microorganisms.

"Irradiation can make food safer for the consumer as it aims to discontinue the reproductive cycle of bacteria that often causes such food to spoil," explained Professor Busagala yesterday.

The head of the Atomic Commission who was briefing Arusha Regional Commissioner (RC), Mrisho Gambo on the center's activities, pointed out that the technology will also be extended to export crops and fruits, noting that the technological undertaking will also maintain the freshness of horticultural products such as flowers.

"Such a technology will also spare exporters the burden of costs they are forced to grapple with at country's exit and entry points," he said.

Professor Busagala further disclosed that the commission is planning to put in place special food irradiation laboratories in Dar es Salaam, Mbeya, Dodoma, Mwanza and regions located on borders to serve such a purpose.

According to Professor Busagala, the commission will also establish a nuclear power plant that will be used in the manufacture of anticancer drugs.

The Arusha RC commended TAEC for constructing state-of-the-art laboratory, biggest of its kind in the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

He challenged the commission to raise more public awareness on the importance of radiation and the health risks that come with it.

The Arusha-based commission was established by the Act of Parliament referred to as the Atomic Energy Act number 7 of 2003 with a mandate of providing regulatory and radiation protection services, coordinate, monitor, and promote peaceful use of nuclear Science and Technology in Tanzania.

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