Many consumers ignore food-product recalls: study
of Article:† http://www.meatnews.com/news/headline_stories.asp?ArticleID=101585
(MEATPOULTRY.com, April 14,
by Bryan Salvage
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. ó
Many Americans do not check their homes for recalled food products,
according to a Rutgersí Food Policy Institute study released on April 14.
Approximately 60% of the studied sample reported ever having looked for
recalled food in their homes, and only 10% said they had ever found a
recalled food product.
The study was based on
a survey of 1,101 Americans interviewed by telephone from Aug. 4 to Sept.
respondents said they pay a lot of attention to food recalls and when
they learn about them tell many other people, 40% of these consumers
think the foods they purchase are less likely to be recalled than those
purchased by others ó appearing to believe that food recalls just donít
apply to them.
Approximately half of
Americans say that food recalls have had no impact on their lives,
despite widespread awareness of recent foodborne-illness outbreaks and a
sense that the number of food recalls is increasing, said William K.
Hallman, psychologist and professor of human ecology at Rutgers, The
State University of New Jersey, School of Environmental and Biological
Sciences, and lead author of the study report.
to pay attention to news about recalls isnít the hard part. Itís getting
them to take the step of actually looking for recalled food products in
their homes," said Mr. Hallman, who is also the director of F.P.I.
offered suggestions on how to improve food recall communications.
Approximately 75% of those surveyed said they would like to receive
personalized information about recalls on their receipt at the grocery
store, and more than 60% said they also would also like to receive such
information through a letter or an e-mail.
communications about food recalls may be the way to overcome the sense
that the messages are meant for someone else, Mr. Hallman said. Providing
consumers with recall information about specific products they have
purchased makes it harder for them to ignore the advice to look for the
However, even when
people find recalled food, not all do what they are told. Approximately
12% reported eating a food they thought had been recalled. On the other
hand, more than 25% reported that they had discarded food products after
hearing about a recall, potentially wasting safe, nutritious food. Many
consumers also avoid purchasing products not included in the recall but
which are similar or are from the same manufacturer.
research also points out that instructions to consumers must be clear and
comprehensible if you want them to act appropriately after a food
recall," Mr. Hallman said.
Authors of the study
also include Cara L. Cuite, a researcher at F.P.I., and Neal H. Hooker, a
researcher at the Ohio State University. The U.S. Department of
Agriculture and the Grocery Manufacturers Association funded the study.
The study can be
downloaded at www.foodpolicy.rutgers.edu.