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Consumer Food Safety and Food Irradiation Education


<ol> <li>Decrease foodborne illness by increasing consumer knowledge and acceptance of foods processed by irradiation.
<li>Prepare state public health officials, professional dietitians, and other health professionals to respond to consumer questions about food irradiation. (Outreach)
<li>Increase consumer knowledge of the safety, quality and wholesome of irradiated foods. (Outreach)
<li>Assess effectiveness of consumer educational program. (Research)
<li>Determine consumer satisfaction with irradiated products. (Research)
<li>Conduct an economic analysis of market response to irradiated food offered in the test markets in California and Kansas. (Research)</ol>

More information

Consumer knowledge of irradiation will be increased through informing health professionals and delivering an educational program directly to consumers in the community.
Inform health professionals as to food safety issues in their state, including the role of irradiation to increase food safety. Deliver an educational program in which irradiation will be presented as an additional barrier to transmission of food borne disease. Viewing a video tape and discussions with community leaders will take place in communities where irradiated foods will be offered. Economists will conduct an economic analysis of the market response to irradiated foods in those communities where the educational program is presented.
Collaborators in each state continue to deliver educational information to the public, cooperative extension educators, other health educators supermarket personnel and others. In states where irradiated meat is not available, consumer surveys and simulated market experiments are conducted. Some states have developed their own educational displays and brochures with general information about irradiation including responses to frequently asked questions. The majority of consumers respond that when given the opportunity, they will purchase irradiated food. Consumer responses to educational messages is being summarized for presentation at national meetings. Several states are focusing their educational program to respond to consumer and school board questions surrounding the opportunity to order irradiated ground beef. The Minnesota Extension curriculum, "Serve it Up Safety TM", and the "Food Safety First" curriculum for the School Food Safety and Irradiation Education Project in Minnesota, are available for all to use. The videotape, "Food Irradiation: Behind the Headlines" and the curriculum packet which includes references, brochures, sample teaching outlines, marketing information, an evaluation instrument and a power point presentation are available on the web for use by any state.
Irradiated foods are available in select markets in 40 states, including some of those on this project. Scientists have been able to address consumer, health professional, and media questions. The food safety is increasing since pathogen-reduced irradiated ground beef represents up to 35% of some supermarket frozen ground beef sales.

Bruhn, Christine
University of California - Davis
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