Irradiation of U.S. Poultry Benefits, Costs, and Export Potential

Along with the potential to give perishable food products a longer shelf-life and to substitute for chemical fumigants, irradiation may offer consumers safer poultry by destroying microbial pathogens which cause foodborne illnesses. Last fall, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) approved irradiation of uncooked poultry to control bacteria that cause diseases, such as salmonellosis and campylobacteriosis. Each year, about 4 million Americans contract these diseases primarily from foods, and suffer a variety of symptoms ranging from diarrhea and vomiting to blood poisoning. These diseases can be especially serious for the very young, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems. Although irradiation of poultry could reduce the number of foodborne illnesses caused by eating undercooked or improperly handled chicken or turkey, producers will not use the technology until they believe that consumers will buy irradiated poultry. But, poultry producers' interest in irradiation is mixed. The Na- tional Broiler Council says it is neutral toward irradiation—that commercial viability depends on consumer acceptance. The National Turkey Federation favors experimentation with irradiation to determine public acceptance. The USA Poultry and Egg Export Council favors offering irradiated poultry products in export markets.

Issue Date:
Oct 10 1992
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Record Identifier:
Published in:
Food Review: The Magazine of Food Economics, Volume 15, Issue 3
Page range:

 Record created 2017-12-18, last modified 2018-01-22

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