Many Americans fail to check their homes for recalled food products, a new study by Rutgers University’s Food Policy Institute has found. The study was based on a survey of 1,101 Americans interviewed by telephone from Aug. 4 to Sept. 24, 2008.
According to the study, only about 60 percent of the studied sample reported ever having looked for recalled food in their homes, and only 10 percent said they had ever found a recalled food product.
Approximately 12 percent reported eating a food they thought had been recalled. At the other extreme, some consumers take a “better safe than sorry” attitude. More than 25 percent reported that they had simply discarded food products after hearing about a recall, potentially wasting safe, nutritious food. Many consumers also avoid purchasing products not included in the recall but which are similar, or are from the same manufacturer.
Most respondents said they pay a great deal of attention to food recalls and, when they learn about them, they tell many other people. But 40 percent 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 do not apply to them.
Nearly 75 percent 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.