Results of consumer attitude and markets studies worldwide indicate consumers will accept irradiated food. Major studies in the United States indicate the number of consumers concerned about the safety of irradiated food has decreased in the last 10 years and continues to be less than the number of those concerned about pesticide residues, microbiological contamination, and other food-related concerns. The number of people reporting no concerns about irradiated food is among the lowest for food issues, comparable to that of people with no concern about food additives and preservatives. Numerous studies have demonstrated that acceptance increases when consumers are provided with information about specific advantages of the irradiation process. Consumers view irradiated meat and poultry products positively, with half or more interested in purchase. Concern about irradiation centers around safety, nutritional quality, potential harm to employees, and potential danger from living near an irradiation facility. Women, people with lower incomes, and those with less formal education are more likely to express concern. Marketing of irradiated food in the United States, although limited, has been successful. Irradiated foods marketed in numerous countries were judged superior by consumers and sold well. These studies indicate that the market potential for irradiated food is strong. Consumers should receive information about irradiation advantages and environmental and worker safeguards.

This content is only available as a PDF.