Food Safety: majority of Americans feel industry doesn’t do enough

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On the heels of the largest product recall in U.S. history, an ASQ survey reveals that although the majority of the food industry may be following safe production procedures, the majority of the public doesn’t feel it does enough.

Food safety is still igniting widespread concern according to the survey of U.S. adults conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of ASQ. ASQ conducted the survey to gauge how consumers feel about food safety, food recalls and where responsibility lies when it comes to tainted food. The survey finds:
• 93 percent of adults say food manufacturers, growers or suppliers should be held legally responsible when individuals are fatally sickened by tainted food.
• 61 percent of U.S. adults feel the U.S. food recall process is only fair or poor.
• 73 percent of adults say they are as equally concerned about food safety as the war on terror.
• 82 percent of adults believe that the food industry should be required to follow international standards on food safety.
“The United States overall does have a safe food supply,” said Steven Wilson, member of ASQ’s Board of Directors and ASQ food safety expert. “However, whether food manufacturers have process controls in place or not, some have plant sanitation issues that they need to address.” Wilson said there are also other issues to consider. “The problem lies with a specific outbreak. Determining its root cause is often difficult and necessary, otherwise correcting the root cause and preventing future outbreaks can’t be achieved.”

- Government’s Role in Food Safety
Eighty percent of adults believe that the federal government should select the agencies that inspect the facilities of food manufacturers. Interestingly, less than half (48 percent) said that they actually trust the government’s ability to ensure the safety of food products. Also, only half believe the federal government does a good job enforcing laws that ensure our nation’s food supply is safe. This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of ASQ from February 25-27, 2009, among 2,078 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.


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