Nordion Builds North America's First Food-Only Gamma Irradiator

OTTAWA, June 2, 2011 /CNW/ - Nordion Inc. (TSX: NDN) (NYSE: NDZ), a leading provider of products and services to the global health science market, today announced the completion of construction of North America's first gamma irradiator custom-built to eliminate insect pests from fresh fruit.

The irradiator was built for BENEBION, a Mexican provider of phytosanitary services to exporters of fruit and vegetables. Nordion is also supplying the client with cobalt-60 (Co-60), the isotope used in gamma sterilization. Using Nordion's technology, BENEBION plans to treat its first shipment of fruit in June 2011. The plant, located in Matehuala, will have an annual capacity of 300,000 metric tons.

"As demonstrated by this new facility, Nordion is able to tailor its sterilization systems to meet its customers' specific processing needs", said Steve West, CEO of Nordion. "With over 40 years in the gamma sterilization industry, Nordion brings unparalleled experience, reliability and expertise to customers such as BENEBION."

Irradiation is commonly used to protect consumers from food-borne disease, reduce spoilage and improve shelf life. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has also approved the import of tropical fruit from Mexico treated with this process. Gamma sterilization works by exposing products to a measured dose of ionizing radiation from Co-60. This destroys insect pests and helps to reduce harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E.coli while not affecting the taste or nutritional value of the food. Extensively studied for more than 50 years, gamma sterilization is recognized as safe and effective by international public health and government agencies such as the World Health Organization, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and Health Canada.

"Mexican tropical fruit growers have worked hard to meet U.S. quarantine standards," said Arved Deecke, CEO of BENEBION. "Gamma irradiation does not negatively affect produce quality and can be applied at any stage of ripening the customer desires, while significantly lowering the microbial load. Our company recognized its potential to open up markets that were previously not easily accessible to us. We needed a gamma sterilization facility that had both the capacity and the technical configuration to serve the produce industry. The new Nordion irradiator allows us to do just that. Mexico will now be able to export guava at significant volumes and offer tree-ripened quality mangoes, something simply not achievable with the current hot water dipping process."

Mexican fruit and vegetable exports to the US were worth USD$7.1 billion in 20101.

About Nordion Inc. 

Nordion Inc. (TSX: NDN) (NYSE: NDZ) is a global specialty health science company that provides market-leading products used for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. We are a leading provider of medical isotopes, targeted therapies and sterilization technologies that benefit the lives of millions of people in more than 60 countries around the world. Our products are used daily by pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, medical-device manufacturers, hospitals, clinics and research laboratories. Nordion has more than 500 highly skilled employees in three locations. Find out more at


BENEBION™ is the trademark of Mexican start-up PHYTOSAN S.A. de C.V., under which its phytosanitary irradiation services are marketed.  The company is located in Guadalajara, Mexico and was founded in 2003 as a direct consequence of U.S. regulatory approval of phytosanitary irradiation for the import of fresh produce.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this news release constitute "forward-looking statements". These statements are based on current beliefs and assumptions of management, however are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements in this news release. For additional information with respect to certain of these beliefs, assumptions, risks and uncertainties, please refer to Nordion's Annual Information Form for fiscal 2010 available on SEDAR at and on EDGAR on

1 USDA Economic Research Service: NAFTA at 17: Full Implementation Leads to Increased Trade and Integration, report released April 2011

SOURCE Nordion Inc.

For further information:


Shelley Maclean
(613) 592-3400 x.2414

Ana Raman
(613) 595-4580

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Nordion Inc.

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