Various aspects of food treatment by cobalt 60 or caesium 137 gamma radiation are reviewed. One of the main applications of irradiation on foodstuffs lies in its ability to kill micro-organisms, lethal doses being all the lower as the organism concerned is more complex. The effect on parasites is also spectacular. Doses of 200 to 300 krad are recommended to destroy all parasites with no survival period and no resistance phenomenon has ever been observed. The action of gamma radiation on macromolecules was also investigated, the bactericide treatment giving rise to side effects by transformation of food components. Three examples were studied: starch, nucleic acids and a whole food, the egg. The organoleptic aspect of irradiation was examined for different treated foods, then the physical transformations of unpasteurized, heat-pasteurized and radio-pasteurized eggs were compared. The report ends with a brief analysis of the toxicity and conditions of application of the treatment.