WASHINGTON — More than 91% of consumers are concerned about trans fats, but nearly two-thirds (60%) don’t understand that unsaturated fats are healthful. That was one of several “diet disconnects” found in the third annual Food & Health Survey conducted by the International Food Information Council. Conducted among 1,000 American adults in February and March of 2008, the study shows that consumers need easy-to-understand advice about how to buy, store, cook and serve food. Likewise, they’re looking for help to determine what foods are good — and bad — to eat. While most consumers said they get plenty of health information, nearly half said it’s confusing. “Americans want information, but they don’t know what to do with the information once they get it,” said Susan Borra, IFIC President and a registered dietitian. The survey found that while more than three-quarters of Americans (82%) say they are confident in their ability to safely prepare food, many do not take steps to reduce the spread of bacteria in their kitchen. For instance, less than half (48%) report using separate cutting boards for raw meat or poultry and produce, and just 29% say they use a meat thermometer. “Food thermometers are really the only accurate way to find out food temperature,” Borra said. Most (92%) report washing their hands with soap and water when preparing food, and nearly as many (79%) say they store leftovers within two hours of serving. But just 15% report checking the wattage on their microwaves, and even fewer (7%) say they use a meat thermometer when using their microwave. “Microwaves often cook unevenly, and wattage affects cooking time, so thermometers are very important,” Borra said.
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