A Brown unit starts building e-beam irradiation facility

A UNIT of A Brown Co., Inc. has started the construction of what it described as the country’s first commercial electron beam — or e-beam — irradiation facility that allows the treatment of goods.

In a media release on Wednesday, listed firm A Brown said its subsidiary Irradiation Solutions Inc. (ISI) recently broke ground for the facility, which will be set up in Tanay, Rizal.

Paul B. Juat, chief executive of ISI, said the project aims to promote additional economic activity both locally and nationally.

“With ISI, cost-effective commercial sterilization services can help build resilience in agri-fishery from shelf-life and post-harvest losses on top of improving health and safety amid the pandemic. Moreover, improving local production to export quality opens the country’s doors to the international market,” Mr. Juat said.

E-beam irradiation is a processing and preservation technique where food or non-food products are exposed to accelerated electrons from electron beam machines. It is considered the most economical alternative among available commercial sterilization methods.

The facility, which is targeted to be completed in September 2023, can sterilize single-use medical devices such as surgical gloves, masks, and syringes. It will also be used to reduce the microbial load of food products, including herbs, spices, and frozen seafood.

A Brown quoted Fortunato T. de la Peña, secretary of the the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), as saying: “I am really happy that this is happening. This technology will immensely help not only the medical field but also those in the agriculture sector.”

E-beam irradiation is a globally accepted technology supported by the International Organization for Standardization, specifically ISO 11137, or the international standard governing the sterilization of healthcare products using radiation. It is said to be used in more than 60 countries.

Mr. Juat said that with irradiation technology recognized globally as a proven and safe technology, “we can better support the growth of various industries and help develop multiple downstream industries as well.”

He added that the company is anticipating the creation of more jobs and other opportunities as a result of this new facility, which is also expected to make an impact on Rizal province’s economy.

Carlo A. Arcilla, director at the DoST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), said the project realized the department’s commitment to help set up a private irradiation facility.

“For our part, [the DoST-PNRI] will assist in the training of the future workers of the ISI irradiation facility on the different aspects of the irradiation process,” he said.

PNRI is said to have been championing the creation of a private irradiation facility since 2017.