Food processors are interested not only to increase the safety of their products but also to reduce losses associated with foodborne illness problems. Irradiating food products provides one means of addressing the foodborne illness issue by significantly reducing the presence of foodborne bacteria and diseases. The objective of the study is to develop an empirical model to estimate the likelihood of consumers purchasing irradiated food products and their willingness to pay for irradiated poultry and pork products within a two-step decision-making process. The decision-making framework assumes that consumers decide first whether or not to buy irradiated foods. If so, the consumer then decides specifically how much that they are willing to pay. Thus, a probit model on whether or not to buy irradiated products is estimated jointly with an OLS equation for the price premiums that consumers are willing to pay for irradiated meats. The study is based on the data collected from telephone interviews with a randomly selected sample of 303 adults, 18 years of age and older in Georgia, USA. The study identifies important socio-demographic variables and other qualitative and attitudinal factors that may affect consumer acceptance and willingness to pay for irradiated poultry products. The results suggest that educating consumer about irradiation would be beneficial to the food industry. The producers should develop strategies targeting the market segment that is receptive to using irradiation in the production process to enhance food safety and reduce incidents of foodborne illness.


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