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### Abstract

The research reported on in this paper was conducted as part of a larger project. That project is on-going and is focused on ascertaining if irradiation of processed meats would be effective and economical. It involved the examination, through modeling, of the irradiation of one of many currently produced ready-to-eat (RTE) convenience-oriented, value-added pork products, sliced boneless ham. The results and findings reported in this paper represent the initial estimates of the cost and potential profitability or economic viability of irradiation of processed meats. The results and findings in this paper should be considered preliminary with extension and verification to be reported in a later paper by the authors. The objective of the portion of that project reported on in this paper was to conduct cost analysis of alternative irradiation methods and to ascertain the cost of each of those methods. Three scenarios were considered for cost analysis. The first scenario was the installation of an X-ray irradiator at an existing meat processing plant. The second scenario was the installation of a Cobalt-60 irradiator at an existing meat processing plant. The third scenario assumed that the meat processor contracted for irradiation services from an off-site company providing such service to a number of clients. For purposes of this study it was assumed that irradiation of sliced boneless ham would result in either a $.06/pound reduction in costs from processor to consumer, a$.06/pound increase in willingness to pay [price] or an equivalent combination of reduced costs and increased price. Total cost per pound for the irradiation process applied to sliced boneless ham ranged from $0.008, at the 200 million pound annual throughput rate using Cobalt-60 irradiation, to$0.069 at the 50 million pound annual throughput rate when contracting with an off-site company.