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    Less Than 20 Percent Of Americans Trust Food Products For Safety

    By Margarita Nahapetyan

    According to a new survey conducted by IBM, less than 20 per cent of adult consumers indicate that they trust food companies to develop and sell food products that are safe and healthy. The survey has also revealed that 60 per cent of consumers are increasingly concerned about the safety of products they purchase, and 63 per cent are aware of the content of the food they buy.

    Results of the survey, fielded by Survey Sampling International, are based on responses from 1,000 randomly selected U.S. individuals, from the country's 10 largest cities (100 responses per city) who do grocery shopping at least once on a monthly basis.

    The survey also found that 83 per cent of those in the poll were able to remember the name a food product that was withdrawn from the market in the last two years due to contamination or other safety concerns. Nearly half of the surveyors - 46 per cent - named peanut butter, the most popular product for school lunches all across the nation, as the most recognizable recall. Spinach held position number two, with 15 per cent awareness almost two years after the product withdrawal.

    More than half - 55 per cent - of the surveyors reported that they trust food manufacturers when handling a recall supported by possible contamination of a product - a significant decrease from 64 per cent in their level of trust over the past two years, when the previous study was conducted, according to IBM. However, nearly 72 per cent of the respondents said that they trust the store where they do grocery shopping, to handle food product contamination withdrawals in a proper way.

    57 per cent of all the consumers said that they have stopped buying certain products, even for a short period of time,during the past two years from the viewpoint of safety considerations, and 49 per cent reported that they would think before buying a food product again that had been recalled due to contamination. According to 77 per cent of the consumers, more information must be available about the content of the food products they buy, and 76 per cent said that they would like to see more information about the product's origin.

    Nearly 74 per cent of those in the survey said that they are willing to search for more information about how food products are grown, processed and manufactured. Consumers also reported to be spending more time reading food labels to know which ingredients are present and questioning stores and product manufacturers about product detail. Consumers also said that they are paying much more attention now to the expiration dates on packaging and doing thorough background checks on specific food brands.

    Finally, the survey found that 45 per cent of the respondents reported changing their grocery shopping behavior during the past two years because they wanted an access to fresher products, and 43 per cent because they wanted access to foods with better quality.

    According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 76 million people in the United States get sick every year with food associated disease and 5,000 of them die. Food safety is the primary issue for governments, retailers, manufacturers and consumers in the same way, and in fact, President Obama's proposed budget includes $1 billion for the Food and Drug Administration to spend on improving food safety.

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