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020931 Publix to Offer Irradiated Ground Beef, Chicken

September 20, 2002

Lakeland, FL - Early next year consumers will find new products in Publix's frozen meat cases when the company introduces New Generation irradiated ground beef patties, boneless chicken breasts and chicken tenders. In addition to these frozen items, Publix will also consider offering fresh products in the future.

"For the past several years, we have been carefully monitoring consumer interest in irradiated products. We believe many customers would like the option of purchasing these products as another line of defense against food-borne illness," said Publix Spokesman Lee Brunson. "Irradiated ground beef also offers customers the opportunity to cook their burgers rare, which is not a recommended food safety option with non-irradiated ground beef that should be cooked to 160 degrees."

Food irradiation is a process designed to kill harmful bacteria with a controlled amount of radiant energy. It has been endorsed by food and nutrition professionals at organizations such as the American Dietetic Association, the American Medical Association and the World Health Organization.

"Irradiation is not a replacement for the safe food handling procedures that we should all use. It is, however, an additional layer of protection to enhance food safety," said Brunson. "Packages of New Generation frozen ground beef and chicken will be prominently labeled so that customers will have a clear choice of purchase."

New Generation products will be processed by Food Technology Service Inc., a Mulberry, Fla.- based irradiation facility. Food Technology Service Inc. began irradiating poultry, fruit, vegetables and other items in 1992. The company also irradiates meals for NASA's space shuttle astronauts.


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