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Rutgers study finds many consumers ignore food product recalls
Date:4/14/2009

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. Rutgers' Food Policy Institute (FPI) released a study today showing that many Americans fail to check their homes for recalled food products. 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.

The study was based on a survey of 1,101 Americans interviewed by telephone from Aug. 4 to Sept. 24, 2008. The study can be downloaded at www.foodpolicy.rutgers.edu.

Most respondents said they pay a great deal of attention to food recalls and, when they learn about them, tell many other people. But 40 percent of these consumers think that 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.

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, The State University of New Jersey, School of Environmental and Biological Sciences. "Getting consumers to pay attention to news about recalls isn't the hard part," he said. "It's getting them to take the step of actually looking for recalled food products in their homes." Hallman is also the director of FPI and lead author of the study report.

The Rutgers researchers also offered suggestions about how to improve communications about food recalls. 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.

Hallman said that personalizing communications about food recalls may
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Contact: Joseph Blumberg
blumberg@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x652
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

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