Food irradiation is the process of exposing food to ionizing radiation in order to disinfest, sterilize, or preserve food. It is, like most technology involving ionizing radiation, the subject of some controversy regarding its safety. Irradiation is used on other things as well, such as medical hardware. Largely to avoid consumer fear of the term "radiation", it is often called cold pasteurization or electronic pasteurization to emphasize its similarity to the process of pasteurization.