The effects of irradiation of Clostridium botulinum neurotoxin type A (BNTA) and staphylococcal enterotoxin A (SEA) in gelatin phosphate buffer and cooked mince beef slurries were investigated. Estimation of toxins by immunoassays showed that in buffer, toxins were destroyed by irradiation at 8.0 kGy; in mince slurries however, 45% of BTNA and 27-34% of SEA remained after this level of irradiation. At 23.7 kGy, over twice the dose of irradiation proposed for legal acceptance in the UK, 15% of BNTA and 16-26% of SEA still remained. Increasing concentrations of mince conferred increased protection against the effect of irradiation on both toxins. The biological activity of BNTA was more sensitive to irradiation than the immunological activity. Staphylococcal enterotoxin was more resistant to irradiation than BNTA. Irradiation should therefore only be used in conjunction with good manufacturing practices to prevent microbial proliferation and toxin production prior to irradiation. (author).