Most people are still unfamiliar with the concept of food irradiation—Frenzen et al. (2001) found that only 48% of a sample of 10,780 adults had heard of the process. It seems reasonable then to presume that when consumers are asked about their willingness to purchase irradiated foods, the information provided about irradiation will affect the outcome.

Irradiated food products are entering the market at an accelerating pace. Minnesota based Meat Co. of Sauk Rapids Inc. markets its electron-beam-irradiated frozen beef patties in packages bearing the radura symbol and the statement, “Irradiated for safety, Serve with confidence.” The products are marketed in more than 2,500 stores nationwide. In the past month, 500 stores have begun selling e-beam-irradiated fresh products marketed by other companies. Photos courtesy of SureBeam Corp.

The positive effect of additional information about the process has been demonstrated. For example, in a simulated market study in Georgia, the p…

Table 1—Consumer acceptance of irradiation

Table 2—Effect of various factors on the likelihood of an individual’s classification with regard to irradiation

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