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That was the headline fed to readers over the weekend of The Boston Globe, which reported on the move by New England retailers such as Stop & Shop and Shaw’s, among others, to sell irradiated beef, which is described as “a scary-sounding product that has generated enormous consumer confusion.”

A spokesperson for Stop & Shop says that the product is selling “about as expected. We never expected it to be a huge seller.”

The paper notes that the shift toward irradiated beef has been driven to stronger food safety concerns than ever before, which are in part related to recent E. coli scares. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA), which used to ban the use of irradiated meat from school lunch programs, now is advocating its introduction.

The Globe reporter writes, “I did my own taste test, cooking up two hamburgers, one irradiated and one not. I didn't experience the '’wet dog taste’ that some irradiation critics have complained of. As far as I could tell, the irradiated hamburger tasted the same as the nonirradiated one.”
KC's View:
The Globe also notes that chains like Whole Foods don’t sell irradiated beef, which seems both appropriate and in-character.

The fact is, consumers should have a choice. Especially in the current environment, as food safety and food security become of ever greater concern, we think irradiated beef will become a choice with some significant growth in acceptance.