Foto Via: La Nación. A carnicería in Caballito.

Fun fact: 30 percent of food worldwide is wasted away. Meaning, we let 30 percent of eatable, healthy food perish. Yet a solution has arisen — albeit an irradiated one. Sounds scary, doesn’t it?

The Administracion Nacional de Medicamentos, Alimentos y Tecnología Médica (ANMAT) has modified its policies and now allows irradiation in eight food categories, including meat. Yup, that’s right — the era of “life-long meat” is upon us.

Wait, Life-Long Meat?

Most likely, you are aware of the concept “life-long milk”. The cartons and bags of milk on store shelves that last (you guessed it) longer and don’t need to be refrigerated until being opened. Well, “life-long meat” isn’t much different. It is edible meat which can now be stored unrefrigerated, lasts longer, and the chances of contracting a food born illness are virtual nill.

Walk me through this

The way “life-long meat” is created is through irradiation. Gamma rays are projected onto the meat, killing all active DNA.

The irradiation can be performed at any stage of the meat’s production process, even after it is vacuum sealed and ready to be shipped. Sounds like the beginning of a Spiderman storyline but hey if the experts say it’s safe then might as well give it a go, right?

Foto Via: La Nación
Foto Via: La Nación

The Pros and Cons

The meat is barely affected by the gamma rays, as every food group’s level of radiation is strictly monitored. Each food can only undergo up to a certain level of radiation. Once the irradiation has been performed, the food’s nutritional values suffer minimal alterations. Difference in smell and flavor are hardly detected as well.

However, we must consider that prices may be higher when compared to standard meat as an extra step has been added to the production process. Extra costs account for higher prices. But don’t say no yet, the price variation is equal to only cents of a dollar.

Thanks to “long-life meat” being able to last up to a year on the shelf, meat producers in Argentina will now be able to lower the cost of shipping and sell meat to countries all over the world, irrespective of distance limitations.

Consumers will see benefits as well since the radiation applied onto the products will lower the risk of meat-transmitted diseases. By killing all active DNA, the gamma rays are also reducing the levels of bacteria responsible for certain diseases.

Life-long meat is the perfect example of Argentines holding up to their carnivorous reputations. Who else could take better advantage of the concept of unperishable meat? And let’s not forget, we might end up as Wonder Woman someday.