Maple Leaf listeriosis outbreak affecting consumer habits: study


By Tom Johnston on 12/5/2008


Source of Article:


Canadians have changed their eating habits following an outbreak of listeriosis linked to Maple Leaf Foods deli meat this past summer, a survey by the University of Guelph concluded.

Following the outbreak and recall, the proportion of consumers who said they never consume ready-to-eat (RTE) meats at home rose to 39 percent, from 6 percent. The percentage of people who said they never consumer RTE meats in fast-food outlets or restaurants jumped to 56 percent, from nine percent.

Guelph researchers used a panel of 2,000 people to survey consumers regarding their awareness, concerns and changes in consumption patterns following the outbreak.

Other findings include:

  • 30 percent have stopped buying RTE meats in Canada
  • 27 percent now eat less often at restaurants and fast-food outlets
  • 52 percent are paying more attention to food labels
  • 32 percent are cooking more food at home and
  • 30 percent are taking more time in food. preparation

Nonetheless, the study found that most consumers remain confident in the safety of Canada's food system. Almost 70 percent said their perception of the safety of meat in general, of food products, and of food as a whole has not changed. Moreover, 75 percent said they consider RTE meats safe to eat.

"This suggests that consumers have not generalized the listeria food recall to their perception of food as a whole," Guelph professor Spencer Hensen said in a news release.


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