Consumer concern about food safety has declined over the past year even as the number of people experiencing serious food-borne illnesses nearly doubled, according to the Thomson Reuters-NPR Health Poll.
Thomson Reuters and NPR developed the monthly poll to gauge attitudes and opinions on a wide range of health issues. The topic of food safety was first addressed in July 2010 and survey respondents were asked the same questions in 2011 to chart changes in attitude.
This latest survey in the series found 57 percent of consumers were concerned with the safety of their food, down from 61 percent a year ago. At the same time, nearly twice as many respondents reported that they recently contracted a serious food-related illness. Among respondents who contracted a food-borne illness in the last three months, 22 percent said it was serious–up from 12 percent in 2010. Lower income appears to be a significant factor in food safety concerns: 68 percent of respondents who earn less than $25,000 per year were concerned with the safety of their food.