Research shows that food irradiation is a safe food technology effective in reducing pathogenic microorganisms, prolonging shelf life, and controlling pests, such as mediterranean fruit fly (
Ceratitis capitata), to avoid quarantine. The purpose of this research was to study the effectiveness of a professional development program designed with a variety of experiential education strategies targeting food industry regulators, extension agents, and others in the food industry. A short course employed experiential education components, such as presentations by experts in food irradiation technology, tours of food irradiation facilities, group activities, and a taste-test of irradiated produce and meat. Data were collected that assessed participants' knowledge, perceptions, and concerns about food safety and food irradiation, using Likert-type scales. The short course produced significant knowledge gains. Respondents' perceptions of food safety and food irradiation issues were improved significantly as a result of participation in the short course. Also, respondents' perceived knowledge and understanding of food safety, food irradiation, and the technology behind food irradiation improved significantly upon completion of the short course.