The radiation emitted by some radioactive substances can be used to kill microorganisms on a variety of foodstuffs, extending the shelf life of these products.
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Using such methods, scientists determined that the age of the Shroud of Turin (Figure 15.3 "Shroud of Turin"; purported by some to be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ and composed of flax fibers, a type of plant) is about 600–700 y, not 2,000 y as claimed by some.
Scientists were also able to use radiocarbon dating to show that the age of a mummified body found in the ice of the Alps was 5,300 y.
This exposure kills a lot of the bacteria that cause spoilage, so the produce stays fresh longer.
Eggs and some meat, such as beef, pork, and poultry, can also be irradiated.
After incorporating radioactive atoms into reactant molecules, scientists can track where the atoms go by following their radioactivity.