Study: Majority of Consumers Don’t Check their Homes for Recalled Food Products

April 15, 2009 07:00 PM

Sara Muri, AgWeb Business & Crops Online Editor
A study recently released by Rutgers' Food Policy Institute shows average consumers are aware of foods that are being recalled, but don't normally scan their homes for such items. According to the study only about 60% American consumers of the study's sample reported ever having looked for recalled food in their homes.
Psychologist William K. Hallman, a professor of human ecology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, said getting consumers to pay attention to news about recalls isn't the hard part. "Getting them to take the step of actually looking for recalled food products in their homes is a real challenge,” he said in a news release.
The study examined several aspects of food recalls.
Key findings of the study:
  • Most respondents also said they pay a great deal of attention to food recalls and, when they learn about them, they tell many other people
  • Around 40% 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 don't apply to them.
  • Only 10% said they had ever found a recalled food product in their home.
  • Approximately 12% reported eating a food they thought had been recalled.
  • More than 25% reported that they had simply discarded food products after hearing about a recall, potentially wasting safe, nutritious food.
  • Many consumers avoid purchasing products not included in the recall but which are similar, or are from the same manufacturer.
  • 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 percent said they also would also like to receive such information through a letter or an e-mail.
The study included 1,101 Americans who were interviewed by telephone from Aug. 4 to Sept. 24, 2008. The United States Department of Agriculture and the Grocery Manufacturers Association funded the study.
For More Information
Consumer Responses to Food Recalls: 2008 National Survey Report, Food Policy Institute

You can e-mail Sara Muri at

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