Linac based irradiators will require careful design before they can be routinely adopted for the radiation processing of food. The transverse emittance and energy spread from simple injectors provide a significant challenge to the design of a beam delivery system which must handle high power especially in photon mode. Any nonuniform current distribution at the plane of the product is further complicated by large dose variations near the air/product interface, even with simple geometries. The paper describes the use of methods developed at AECL to control and monitor linac behaviour as well as electron interactions at the product surface. It also reports on activation cross-section measurements and particularly on neutron yields from composite targets, designed to monitor the energy of accelerators used in food applications.