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ABSTRACT

Sensory characteristics and consumer acceptance of electron-beam irradiated commercial samples of ready-to-eat meats (frankfurters and diced chicken) were evaluated. Samples were removed from their original packaging, repackaged in irradiation-approved packaging, vacuum-sealed, irradiated by electron-beam at 1, 2 and 3 kGy and stored at 4C for up to 32 days. Nonirradiated controls were held under similar conditions. A consumer panel (n = 50) evaluated the effects of irradiation on the samples throughout the expected shelf life of 32 days after irradiation. Overall acceptance, acceptance of flavor, juiciness, tenderness and mouthfeel of the nonirradiated diced chicken and frankfurters were significantly lower (P < 0.05) than most irradiated samples at day 18 and day 32 after irradiation, respectively. Although the quality of the irradiated samples decreased with increasing storage time, consumers perceived that the irradiated frankfurters and diced chicken maintained their acceptability for up to 32 and 18 days, respectively, after irradiation.