The first documented proposal to use ionizing radiation “ to bring about an improvement in the condition of foodstuffs” and in “their general keeping quality” was made 90 years ago in the United Kingdom in a patent issued to J. Appleby, miller, and A. J. Banks, analytical chemist (1). The inventors proposed the treatment of foods, especially cereals and their products, with alpha, beta or gamma rays from radium or other radioactive substances. Remarkably, they stressed “ the exceptionally marked advantage of an entire absence of the direct use or employment of chemical compounds” in this process. They suggested that the effects of radiation treatment were due to “ chemical changes similar to those which occur in nature.” However, the radium preparations suggested by these inventors as sources of ionizing radiation were not available in sufficient quantity to irradiate food commercially.