Knowledge and Attitudes of Selected Home Economists Toward Irradiation in Food Preservation

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Abstract

Preservation of food with ionizing radiation treatment offers many benefits to consumers. Among other factors, the lack of certainty of the acceptance of this process by the public has slowed its commercial use in the U.S. Since home economists deal with food-related issues, it is likely that they will be asked ques tions by the public about this process. This project was designed to obtain infor mation using a survey method about the knowledge and attitudes of selected California home economists toward the use of irradiation to preserve food. The information was used to determine whether a need existed to provide education about the irradiation process to these professionals. The survey revealed that these home economists lacked knowledge about the irradiation process, al though they had a positive attitude toward it and desired to learn more about it. Based on these findings, a 90-minute statewide teleconference was conducted and viewed by more than 300 home economists and other interested profession als. Descriptive and inferential statistical methods were used to analyze the data. Results revealed that (a) knowledge of and a positive attitude toward food irradi ation increased as a result of participation in the teleconference, (b) the informa tion provided was helpful, and (c) the objectives of the teleconference were met. This project should be replicated using a nationwide sample of home economists to obtain information about the knowledge and attitudes of a wide range of home economists about food irradiation and, if a need is demonstrated, a nationwide teleconference should be conducted.

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