Perception is reality and a new survey from food and marketing agency Charleston Orwig found that more than a quarter of consumers said they do not trust the vigilance of the food industry’s safety efforts.

In a blog post called “Food Safety in America - Time to Bolster Consumer Confidence,” the agency reported a survey of 500 consumers found:

  • When asked if they trusted the food industry for safe food, 48% said they do trust the food industry and 27% said they did not;
  • More than 77% of consumers say that cooking a meal in their own kitchens is the best way to ensure it is safe to eat; 
  • Restaurants were deemed the second safest, with more than 59% of consumers considering this to be a reliable option;
  • Just 29% of respondents consider food trucks or public vendors safe and almost 42% considering this option potentially unsafe; 
  • Asked to compare food safety now versus a decade ago, about 35% of consumer said food is safer and 32% said it was less safe;
  • The survey said 59% of consumers said they assume food from individual farmers, food manufacturers or restaurants is safe if they have not heard about a specific problem;
  • The survey said that having had a food-borne illness did not make a person think food was less safe than participants overall; 
  • 49% of consumers said grains, beans and pasta are the safest foods, followed by fresh fruits and vegetables at 42%;
  • Leafy greens and lettuce were tied with processed food as the next category of highest concern with 45% of consumers rating them risky, according to the survey; and
  • 55% say meat and poultry are the riskiest to eat; the blog post speculated the divide could be tied to people’s overall perception of what makes up a healthy diet.

TK: As the Charleston Orwig blog post concludes, the industry needs to do a better job of communicating their food safety efforts to consumers.  An unanswered question in this discussion is how consumer doubts about food safety reduce consumption.

On a related note, check out Farm Journal’s effort to build “Trust in Food” at this link.

Submitted by Ken on Mon, 10/21/2019 - 14:57

My wife and I do not trust restaurants at all with our food. Especially fast food places. We avoid them all with very little exception. There are some places where we can watch our food being prepared, they have cameras watching all the stations and take other measures to show customers their food is safe. Until there are harsh penalties such as prison sentences for food tampering we'll continue to eat here at home.