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Consumers willing to pay extra for irradiated or steam pasteurized meat.

Most consumers would be willing to pay a higher price for meat that has been irradiated or steam pasteurized to kill pathogenic bacteria, according to a Food Safety Consortium survey. Researchers at Kansas State University said the survey results might surprise anyone who thinks consumer are leery of irradiation. The survey was mailed to households in Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Wyoming. It asked consumers which they would choose if they could buy a standard meat product at $1.69 per pound or a "treated" product at the same price or at prices from $0.10-0.40 per pound higher. Fox received 715 usable completed surveys.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents said that at an equal price, they would choose the treated product. Fifty-five percent would choose treated product if it cost more. The survey also found that some consumers were still more concerned about irradiation than steam pasteurization. The probability of choosing to buy an untreated product was higher if irradiation, rather than steam pasteurization, was the treatment.

Although steam pasteurization had a lower rejection rate, respondents who chose to buy a treated product tended to place a higher value on irradiation than on steam pasteurization. They displayed a higher willingness to pay for it, the survey found.

Households with children were more likely to choose the safer products. But the presence of children did not influence the family's willingness to pay a higher price. Consumers who were willing to pay more were on average willing to pay a premium of $0.22-0.26 per pound.
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Comment:Consumers willing to pay extra for irradiated or steam pasteurized meat.
Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 21, 2005
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