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Poll: Fewer Than 25% U.S. Adults Are Concerned They'll Get Sick From E. coli in Spinach

Sept. 27, 2006 -- More than three-quarters of U.S. adults say they aren't worried about getting sick from E. coli in spinach, according to a new Gallup poll.

Gallup polled 1,010 U.S. adults aged 18 or older by telephone from Sept. 21 to 24.

The poll shows 77% of those questioned either said they were "not too worried" or "not worried at all" that they or someone in their family would fall ill due to E. coli in spinach.

But more than half of the participants -- 58% -- said they are now less likely to eat fresh spinach. Fewer said the same about eating frozen spinach or other leafy, green produce.

Women aged 50 and older seemed particularly worried about the E. coli outbreak.

They were the most likely to express concern about getting E. coli illness from fresh spinach and to say the E. coli outbreak made them less likely to eat fresh spinach.

Poll Results

In the poll, participants were first reminded that "some people in the United States have gotten sick from E. coli bacteria found in spinach."

Next, they were asked: "How worried are you that you or a member of your family will get sick from E. coli bacteria -- very worried, somewhat worried, not too worried, or not worried at all?"

Here are their answers:

  • Very worried: 6%
  • Somewhat worried: 17%
  • Not too worried: 36%
  • Not worried at all: 41%

Following are the percentages of participants who said they were less likely to eat the following items as a result of the E. coli outbreak:

  • Fresh spinach: 58%
  • Frozen spinach: 39%
  • Other leafy green produce: 23%

The poll didn't ask how often participants ate those foods before the E. coli outbreak.

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