This paper attempts to summarize relevant information on microbiological safety of irradiated foods in the light of previous reports of expert committees and current literature references. After a brief survey of the relative radiation resistance of food-borne microorganisms, the importance of microbial load for dose requirement, and the role of post-irradiation conditions, it addresses the following questions: Could selective changes in the microflora, caused by non-sterilizing radiation doses, make known pathogens more likely to occur, or bring into prominence unfamiliar pathogens? Is it probable that 'mutational' (including adaptive) changes might make pathogens more virulent, more harmful, or more difficult to recognize, and could new pathogens arise in this way? Is it possible that development of radiation-resistant strains might render the antimicrobial irradiation processes ineffective? The present survey of relevant scientific evidence related to these questions reaffirms the basic conclusion of earlier reviews, that microbiological safety of irradiated food is fully comparable with that of foods preserved by other acceptable preservation methods. Similar to other preservation processes, gains in microbiological or keeping quality attained by food irradiation can be and must be safeguarded by proper control in the food irradiation facilities and by proper care of the product before and after processing.