NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — Rutgers University's Food Policy Institute released a study this week that shows many Americans fail to check their homes for recalled food products.
Only about 60% of those surveyed said they had ever looked for recalled food in their home and just 10% of those said they had found a recalled product.
While most said they pay attention to food recall news, 40% appear to believe food recalls just don’t apply to them, researchers concluded.
“Despite widespread awareness of recent foodborne illness outbreaks, and a sense that the number of food recalls is increasing, about half of Americans say that food recalls have had no impact on their lives,” said psychologist William K. Hallman, a professor of human ecology at Rutgers.
He said that personalizing communications about food recalls could be a positive step to get consumers thinking about how recalls maybe affecting them. Nearly 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.
But even when alerted about recalls, consumers don’t necessarily do what they’re advised to do. About 25% said they throw away any products they have that are the type being recalled, thus they may be wasting safe food. At the other extreme, surprisingly, 12% reported eating a product they thought had been recalled.
The study, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Grocery Manufacturers Association, involved a telephone survey of 1,101 Americans last fall.
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