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American Consumers Ignoring Food Recalls

16 April 2009

US - Many Americans fail to check their homes for recalled food products, a new study by Rutgers University’s Food Policy Institute has found. The study was based on a survey of 1,101 Americans interviewed by telephone from 4 August to 24 September 2008.

Reporting on the study, the American Meat Institute (AMI) says that only about 60 per cent of the studied sample reported ever having looked for recalled food in their homes, and only 10 per cent said they had ever found a recalled food product.

According to AMI, approximately 12 per cent reported eating a food they thought had been recalled. At the other extreme, some consumers take a “better safe than sorry” attitude. More than 25 per cent reported that they had simply 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.

Most respondents said they pay a great deal of attention to food recalls and, when they learn about them, they tell many other people. But 40 per cent of these consumers think the foods they purchase are less likely to be recalled than those purchased by others, appearing to believe that food recalls just do not apply to them.

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