Just yesterday we reported that US-based food irradiation specialist SureBeam Corporation had signed a contract with a Vietnamese company, its first major step into the Asian market.
Now, this Asian expansion has continued with the signing of an agreement with the Thai Electron Pasteurized Products Company, based in Bangkok, a company which processes fruit and vegetables for the Thai and export markets.
The deal will see SureBeam supply its electron beam technology to the Thai company's new processing facility, which is expected to process approximately 200 million pounds of fruit, flowers, and vegetables annually.
"This is an excellent opportunity for Thailand," said Danusa Sanguannoi, Electron Pasteurized Products' general manager. "SureBeam's technology will make it possible to increase Thailand's export opportunities, as well as increasing the variety of exotic tropical fruits that American consumers can enjoy."
The new plant is due to be built in the greater Bangkok region, but construction cannot begin until the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has issued a final rule allowing irradiation to be used as an alternative to current pest control methods, such as chemical fumigation or cold and heat treatments, SureBeam said.
"This venture is a triple win," said Larry A. Oberkfell, SureBeam's president and CEO. "It provides Thailand with greater market access; it provides an opportunity for American consumers to experience Thailand's exotic tropical fruits that were not previously available, and it gives American agriculture today the best bio-security protection available from unwanted foreign pests."
SureBeam claims that its technique for eliminating pests and extending shelf life is safer than those currently in use, such as toxic chemicals, heat or nuclear irradiation, since these processes can adversely impact the appearance and nutritional value of fruit or the environment.