The effect of ionizing radiation on free tocopherols in chicken was determined Raw chicken breast muscle with skin and adipose tissue removed was subjected to gamma radiation from a (137)Cs source at 1, 2·25, 5·0, and 10·0 kGy. The chicken was packaged aerobically, and irradiated at 4°C. Free tocopherols were extracted directly from the meat without a saponification step. The tocopherols were resolved using normal phase, high performance liquid chromatography by spectrophotofluorometric detection. Irradiation resulted in a significant linear decrease in alpha and gamma tocopherol with increasing dose levels. At 3 kGy, the maximum level approved by the FDA for poultry, a 15% reduction of free gamma tocopherol and a 30% reduction for free alpha tocopherol were observed.