Americans Heeding Food Safety Issues
Poll Shows Most U.S. Adults Have Avoided Buying Certain Foods Because of Food Recalls or Food Safety
WebMD News Archive
Aug. 3, 2007 -- Recent food safety advisories and food recalls are on the
minds of many U.S. adults, according to a new Gallup poll.
The poll of 1,001 U.S. adults was conducted from July 12-15. That's right
before Castleberry's Food Company recalled some of its canned goods because
of possible botulism contamination.
In the poll, participants were asked about actions they had taken in the
past year as a direct result of a government food safety advisory or a product
Specifically, they were asked if they had avoided buying certain brands or
types of food, thrown out food or returned food to the store, or worried that
they had eaten something that may have been contaminated.
They could say "yes" to more than one of those questions. For
instance, if someone had worried, thrown out food, and avoided certain brands,
they would have answered "yes" to all three questions.
Food Safety Reactions
Overall, 71% of poll participants reported taking at least one of those
actions as a direct response to food safety issues in the past year.
Most participants -- 62% -- indicated that they had avoided buying certain
brands or types of food. Fewer participants -- 40% -- reported throwing out or
returning food to the store. More than one in four -- 26% -- said they had
worried that they had eaten something contaminated.
In the poll, people rated how much confidence they had in the federal
government to ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply. They could choose one
of several responses, ranging from "a great deal" of confidence to
"none at all."
Most participants -- 53% -- indicated that they had "a fair amount of
confidence" in the government's ability to ensure U.S. food safety.
Eighteen percent expressed "a great deal" of confidence.
At the other end of the spectrum, 21% reported having "not much"
confidence and 8% reported having no confidence at all in the government's
ability to ensure U.S. food safety.
The 71% who expressed a "great deal" or "fair" amount of
confidence is markedly lower than the 76% who voiced those views in Gallup's
poll last year and down from the high point of 85% in Gallup's 2004 poll.
But that doesn't mean that people are fretting as they stroll through the
Faith in Food Safety
When asked if they feel confident or not confident that the food available
in most grocery stores is safe to eat, the vast majority of poll participants
-- 82% -- reported feeling confident.
That's slightly lower than the 87% who expressed confidence in most grocery
store food in Gallup's December 2006 poll.
Most participants -- 37% -- reported paying a "fair amount" of
attention to food warnings. Another 28% indicated that they pay "a lot"
of attention, 19% said they pay "some" attention, 10% said they pay
"not too much" attention, and 6% said they pay no attention at all to
Gallup reports that the poll's margin of error was plus or minus three
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