The mango imports represent a wider range of products that can now be imported since approval for irradiated fruit and vegetables imports was granted in 2002. The process exposes foods to ionizing radiation that kills insects, moulds and bacterium. The technology, which can kill up to 99 per cent of pathogens, is seen by the industry as a means of ensuring food safety. Last year, a generic dose of irradiation was recognized as an approved treatment for a wider range of produce, including Indian mangoes. Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approves the importation of pre-cleared, commercial shipments, providing certain conditions are met, including dosage. Mike Johanns, US Secretary of Agriculture said shipment is a significant milestone that paves the way for the future use of irradiation technology to protect against the introduction of plant pests. "India and the United States began talking about shipping mangoes 17 years ago," he said. "Irradiating Indian mangoes safeguards American agriculture while providing additional choices for US consumers in today's global marketplace." While the range of irradiated produce is expanding, US official safeguards in place ensure regulations are complied with. Shipments must be accompanied by a certificate issued by the national plant protection organization of India with additional declarations certifying that the treatment and inspection of the mangoes was made in accordance with APHIS regulations. In addition, inspectors with the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection may further inspect pre-cleared shipments on first arrival into a US port. Irradiation has been been endorsed as safe for foods and health by the World Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization and the Codex Alimentarius, an international standards-setting body. A World Health Organization scientific report in 1992 found that irradiation posed no risk to human health. However, due to consumer concerns many countries require irradiated products to be labeled so that consumers have the choice to purchase or not. To date, about 50 countries have approved about 60 products to be irradiated. The US, South Africa, the Netherlands, Thailand and France are among the leaders in adopting the technology.