Unless the food is irradiated right before they serve it to you (plate included) it doesn’t really stop supply chain contamination or cross contamination at processing/prep.
The best system would be to package products in totally sealed packages and then irradiate with a monitor mark on each package to ensure proper dose is delivered. But I highly doubt food irradiation does this as it would cost too much for all the extra packaging, radiation sensitive dosing labels, and QA/QC required.
Pascalization is an interesting sterilization(ish) technique which literally crushes everything under pressures so high not much survives the process.
People may wax rhapsodic about the virtues of the small-scale farm, but that is not the direction farming is heading in: Farms are getting fewer in number and larger in size across the board, and that’s only going to continue—and there’s one reason why.
it’s all about economies of scale and the spread and dilution of risk.
This is pretty basic economics that even I, as a total non-economist, understand. The agricultural sector, even with all the immigrant farm labor, employs a tiny number of people. Automation technology is only going to winnow those few remaining people away.
From what I know of farming in my local area – you don’t have a farm to make money. The majority rely heavily on subsidy. It’s a buyer’s market if you want to sell the farm, either to someone who will continue to farm or to a real estate developer. Having grown up on a hobby farm, it was not cheaper to have chickens than it would have been to buy eggs at the store.
Urban farmers who have their soil tested for heavy metals and other contaminants can get a nasty shock when they realize what would be coursing through the food they grow on their land. Establish an innocent little vegetable patch and you’ll be serving your family a salad full of fresh lead.
Happily, contaminated soil doesn’t mean farming is out of the question. A relatively small investment in compost and new topsoil can mean a relatively large drop in contaminants. Some urban farmers put in raised beds that keep the plants they intend to eat out of contact with the soil. And then there’s another solution: phytoremediation.
Myanmar’s Inle Lake is one of the largest lakes in the country, but in the last 20 years, satellite images have been revealing what looks like a smaller surface area. The lake, however, is still there — it’s just hidden beneath a sprawling, floating tomato farm.
Salman Rushdie talks about these in Kashmir in Haroun and the Sea of Stories. I had no idea they were still a major agricultural practice. I seem to remember something similar in Lake Titicaca in Bolivia as well – but again, not as a major commercial player.