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Factors Predicting Likelihood of Eating Irradiated Meat


  • Acknowledgments: We thank Chuckson Holloway for his assistance in collecting the data for this study. Also, we are grateful for the many helpful comments from two anonymous reviewers that have made this paper considerably stronger.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Raymond Fleming, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413, USA. E-mail:


Perception of risk associated with meat irradiation was investigated in a sample of 478 respondents. Fears associated with irradiation, the relative severity and risk of bacterial infection versus potential risks due to the irradiation, and perceptions of the safety of the meat irradiation process combined to strongly predict participants' reports of their likelihood of eating irradiated meat in the present investigation. Overall, respondents were skeptical with regard to eating irradiated meat if it became locally available. Respondents' acceptance of meat irradiation was clearly driven by concerns about the risks of irradiation, but not the risks of bacterial contamination, confirming findings in the literature on differences in perception of “natural” and “technological” risks.

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