Will consumers accept irradiated food products?

Rodolfo M. Nayga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 76 million people get sick, more than 300 000 are hospitalised, and 5000 Americans die each year from food-borne illness. Research over the past 40 years has shown, however, that food irradiation can decrease the incidence of food-borne illness and disease. Despite this benefit, food irradiation has been the focus of much controversy for years. Proponents of irradiation claim that it will improve food product safety by reducing harmful bacteria. Opponents, on the other hand, raise concerns about its long-term health effects, nutrient loss, and worker safety at irradiation facilities. The debate intensified recently when the US government approved the use of irradiation to kill E. coli 0157:H7 and other harmful bacteria in ground beef and other raw meat. The US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration are also expected to decide soon whether to allow the process to be used on sandwich meats, hot dogs, and similar packaged food products. This study examines consumer willingness to pay for irradiated beef products. About 58% of the respondents are willing to pay a premium for irradiated beef. An ordered probit with sample selection model was estimated. Our findings suggest that females and those who think that improper handling contributes to food poisoning are more likely to pay a premium of 50 cents per pound of irradiated beef than others. Those who trust the irradiation technology are more likely to pay a premium of between 5 and 25 cents per pound for irradiated beef.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220
Number of pages1
JournalInternational Journal of Consumer Studies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jun

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Marketing


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