October 23, 2018

US Consumers Somewhat, Slightly Concerned about Food Supply Safety

NPD Group conducts biweekly surveys about food safety. This week they released a report this week that noted 60% of U.S. consumers are “somewhat or slightly concerned about the safety of the U.S. food supply.” Twenty-five percent were “extremely or very concerned”, and 15% “not concerned at all”. These are consistent levels that have not changed in years.

Food LabelsThis is in spite of the fact that worldwide, deaths from gastroenteritis, or food poisoning, have doubled from 1999 to 2007. There were 15 major foodborne illness outbreaks in 2011; one-third of them were caused by fresh produce. The annual cost of foodborne illness is $14 billion every year in the United States.

As with any issue, concerns spike and level off when food poisoning outbreaks are in the news. In July and August of this year, there were many news reports about Salmonella in cantaloupe¬†and mangoes, and Listeria monocytogenes in ricotta salata cheese. Darren Seifer, NPD food and beverage industry analyst, said, “the impact of a food recall on consumer attitudes and perceptions often depends on the amount of news coverage received, or the severity of the situation in terms of numbers sickened or dead as a result. Recalls, unfortunately, have become more commonplace, but consumers are creatures of habit. It takes a lot for us to change what we eat.”


  1. A lot of people are totally clueless about the many food recalls, because there is little mainstream news coverage. Those of us who are signed up for food poisoning alerts know about them, and try to alert other people who may be affected. There are many recalls that I have not heard a word about, on TV or news websites. So, most people don’t know just how bad the situation really is. I suspect the food companies don’t want too much publicity about their tainted products.

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