Food processing techniques are inevitable technological measures that aim to increase and sustain the quality of agricultural products. This is traditionally achieved by the application of heat or exposure to chemicals. Since the advent of X-rays, food scientists have been evaluating the prospect of employing ionising radiations for pest removal, sprouting inhibition and shelf-life extension of food products. Gamma radiation, electron beam and X-rays have emerged as the favoured methods of food irradiation in recent years. Several decades of research have endeavoured to determine the advantage and disadvantage of subjecting food materials to radiation. This has resulted in several international bodies, such as WHO and FAO, certifying that food irradiation is a safe processing method. This review article provides an insight of the various effects of irradiation on food with respect to nutritional quality, shelf-life extension, toxicological aspects, legislation pertaining to food irradiation and global acceptability.