Since 1985, there has been a very strong interest in irradiated food, thereby reflecting an increased awareness of the benefits of food irradiation. Treatment of food with ionizing radiation is increasingly being recognized as a means of reducing foodborne illnesses and associated medical and other costs. The plethora of techniques suggested for the identification of irradiated food may be classified under three broad categories: physical, chemical, and biological. An important landmark regarding the detection standards occurred in December 1996 when the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) adopted five methods as European standards for the detection of irradiated food. The procedures adopted were electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy methods for food containing bone and food containing cellulose, thermoluminescence (TL) for spices and herbs, and chemical methods based on isolation and detection of hydrocarbon and cyclobutanones in food containing fat. TL has been validated as a qualitative analysis method (EN 1788:2001) for the detection of irradiation treatment. It is based on the evaluation of the ratio between the TL intensity of the minerals separated from the food sample under investigation and of the same minerals after irradiation at 1 kGy. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.