Most Americans Believe Food Is Somewhat SafeMost Americans Believe Food Is Somewhat Safe
June 13, 2008
Prior to recent FDA warnings about the Salmonella threat posed by some fresh tomatoes, researchers from the Project on the Public and Biological Security, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, conducted a food survey to determine consumer confidence in the U.S. food-safety system.
Conducted via telephone from May 12 through June 1, 2008, the poll included a nationally representative sample of 1,509 respondents ages 18 and older. Results showed a majority of Americans believe food produced in the United States is either very (37%) or somewhat (58%) safe. Only 4% thought food produced in the United States was unsafe. When asked about foods available in the United States but produced in other countries, almost half (47%) thought food from Mexico was unsafe, and 56% thought food from China was unsafe.
Although most polled believe U.S.-produced food to be relatively safe, they showed reservations about the groups involved in food production and provision. They expressed some or very little confidence in the following to keep food safe: meat producers (58%); restaurants (55%); grocery stores (41%); and fruit and vegetable growers (39%). In addition, 52% have some or very little confidence in the government’s food-inspection system.
The poll also found high levels of awareness of the major food recalls that have occurred in recent years. Nine in ten Americans had heard about food being recalled in the last 2 years, with 82% specifically remembering the ground beef recall, 74% the spinach recall and 55% the peanut butter recall.
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