Many Americans ignore food recalls: survey

Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:31am EDT
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Only about 60 percent of Americans search their homes for foods recalled because of contamination, researchers reported on Tuesday.

The United States has had several major food recalls in recent years, including a Salmonella outbreak that sickened 700 people and was linked to the deaths of nine this year and an ongoing recall of pistachios contaminated with the bacteria.

But a survey by Rutgers University in New Jersey showed that many Americans believe they are less likely than others to have bought recalled products.

"Getting consumers to pay attention to news about recalls isn't the hard part. It's getting them to take the step of actually looking for recalled food products in their homes," said William Hallman, a professor of human ecology who led the study.

The Rutgers team surveyed 1,101 Americans in August and September of last year.

"Most Americans (84 percent) say that they pay close attention to news reports about food recalls and 81 percent say that when they hear about a food recall, they tell others about it," the report said.

In 2006, there were 34 recalls of meat and poultry products and 65 recalls of other foods.

The survey, found at, found that 80 percent correctly said that recalls of food were more frequent lately than in past years.

It found that 40 percent of people who paid attention to recalls said they believed the foods they bought were less likely to be recalled than those purchased by others.   Continued...

<p>Pistachio nuts are shown in closeup in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Newscom</p>