Food Safety Warnings Receive Attention from the General Public; But Few Report Food-Related Illnesses to Governing Agencies or Food Providers

Jan 05, 2007, 00:00 ET from Harris Interactive Inc.

    ROCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the latest Wall
 Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll, over one in 10
 adults say they or someone in their household have gotten sick from food
 they bought at the supermarket, a restaurant or elsewhere, yet only a third
 of those reported the incident. However, most U.S. adults report following
 food safety warnings to some degree and almost equally large numbers
 respond by ceasing to purchase food products that are suspected of being
 unsafe for some period of time. In recent months there have been several
 instances where food products have been recalled or safety warnings have
 been issued. These survey findings indicate that food safety warning
 outreach campaigns to consumers are reasonably effective.
     These are some of the results of an online survey of 2,041 U.S. adults,
 ages 18 and older, conducted by Harris Interactive(R) between December 12
 and 14, 2006 for The Wall Street Journal Online's Health Industry Edition
 (www.wsj.com/health).
     Of the 13 percent of adults who say they or someone in their household
 have gotten sick from food that they bought at a supermarket, restaurant or
 some other place; most do not report it to anyone while just over one-third
 (35%) reported it to at least one of the following:
     -- The place where the food was purchased (20%)
     -- Their doctor (17%)
     -- Their local government agency (4%).
 
     The poll also reveals:
     -- A majority of adults (58%) think the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
        (FDA) should be primarily responsible for setting the rules for food
        handling, production and packaging in order to ensure the safety of the
        products. Fewer say the local department of health (12%) or the
        companies that produce and distribute food products (12%) should bear
        the responsibility.
 
     -- 95 percent of adults follow food safety announcements to some extent.
        Of these, 67 percent stop eating the product until they learn it is
        safe to do so, 15 percent stop eating the product entirely, and equal
        numbers stop eating the product for some time, but don't look for
        additional information to see when it's safe to eat again (9%), or do
        nothing at all (9%).
     Food safety surveillance -- among other things -- requires being able
 to track individuals' purchases back to the locations where a potentially
 harmful product is purchased, packaged or produced. This requires timely
 feedback from consumers to those who are responsible for monitoring food
 safety; which includes local governing agencies and the FDA. These findings
 suggest that with greater awareness and education, consumers can play a
 more effective role in this process by reporting instances when they
 suspect that they or a family member are sick from a food product they
 purchased.
                                    TABLE 1
                             FOOD-RELATED ILLNESSES
     "In the past year, have you or has anyone in your household gotten sick
 from
    food that you bought at a supermarket, restaurant or some other place?"
 
     Base: All adults
 
                                       Total
                                         %
     Yes, someone got sick              13
     No, no one got sick                87
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 2
                        REPORTING FOOD-RELATED ILLNESSES
                 "At the time did you do any of the following?"
     Base: Someone got sick from food purchased at a supermarket, restaurant
 or other
                                                           Total
                                                             %
     Report to one or more of the
      following (Net)                                       35
       Report this to the place where the
        food was purchased                                  20
       See or talk to your doctor about it                  17
       Report this to the local government
        agency                                               4
     None of these                                          65
 
     Note: Multiple-response question
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 3
           SETTING RULES FOR FOOD HANDLING, PRODUCTION AND PACKAGING
     "Who do you think should be primarily responsible for setting the rules
 for food handling, production and packaging in order to ensure the safety
 of these
                                   products?"
 
     Base: All adults
 
                                                              Total
                                                                %
     The US Food and Drug Administration                       58
     Local departments of health                               12
     The companies that produce, and
      distribute food products                                 12
     The restaurants and stores that sell
      food products                                             5
     Local departments of sanitation                            2
     Some other organization                                    1
     None of these                                              1
     Not sure                                                   9
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 4
               FOLLOWING FOOD SAFETY WARNINGS AND PRODUCT RECALLS
     "Sometimes food products are recalled from the market or warnings are
 issued
     that a product is suspected of making people sick. How closely do you
 follow
                   these kinds of food safety announcements?"
 
     Base: All adults
 
                                                           Total
                                                             %
     Follow food safety announcements (Net)                 95
      To a great extent                                     30
      To some extent                                        43
      To a minor extent                                     22
     Not at all                                              5
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 5
                         ACTING ON FOOD SAFETY WARNINGS
 "What do you typically do when you hear about a food safety concern or product
                                    recall?"
 
     Base: Follow food safety announcements
 
                                                             Total
                                                               %
     Stop eating the product (Net)                            91
      Stop eating the product entirely                        15
      Stop eating the product until I learn
       that it's safe to do so                                67
      Stop eating the product for some time,
       but don't look for additional
       information to see when it's safe to eat again          9
      Do nothing                                               9
 
 
     Methodology
     Harris Interactive(R) conducted this online survey within the United
 States between December 12 and 14, 2006 among a national cross section of
 2,041 adults, ages 18 years and over. Figures for age, gender,
 race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary
 to align with population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also
 used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
     All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include:
 sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed);
 measurement error due to question wording and/or question order,
 deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, non-response
 (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used)
 and weighting.
     With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that
 result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a
 finite "margin of error" for any survey and the use of these words should
 be avoided.
     With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is
 possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not
 other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With pure
 probability samples of 2,041 adults, one could say with a ninety-five
 percent probability that the results would have a sampling error of +/- 3
 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples would be
 higher and would vary. However, that does not take other sources of error
 into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and
 therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
     About The Wall Street Journal Online
     The Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com, published by Dow Jones &
 Company (NYSE:   DJ), is the largest paid subscription news site on the Web.
 Launched in 1996, the Online Journal continues to attract quality
 subscribers that are at the top of their industries, with 788,000
 subscribers world-wide as of Q3, 2006.
     The Online Journal offers three industry-specific verticals: the award-
 winning Health, Media & Marketing and now Law. Health offers authoritative
 analysis, breaking news and commentary from top industry journalists. Media
 & Marketing is designed for professionals in the advertising, marketing,
 entertainment and media industries. Law is designed to provide law firms
 and attorneys timely information on events and trends important to the
 legal market. Subscribers to these verticals also get access to the full
 content of the Online Journal.
     In 2005, the Online Journal was awarded a Codie Award for Best Online
 News Service for the second consecutive year, and its Health Industry
 Edition was awarded Best Online Science or Technology Service for the third
 consecutive year. The Wall Street Journal Online network includes
 CareerJournal.com, OpinionJournal.com, StartupJournal.com,
 RealEstateJournal.com and CollegeJournal.com.
     About Harris Interactive
     Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market
 research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights
 and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions
 which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris
 Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest
 running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market
 research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world's
 largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris
 Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and
 Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a
 global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau,
 HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data
 collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking
 research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be
 obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com.
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to
 participate in online surveys, register at
 http://go.hpolsurveys.com/Health.
     Press Contacts:
 
     Michelle Soto
     Harris Interactive
     585-214-7665
 
     Christine Mohan
     Dow Jones & Company
     212-416-2114
 
     Harris Interactive Inc. 1/07
 
 

SOURCE Harris Interactive Inc.
    ROCHESTER, N.Y., Jan. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- According to the latest Wall
 Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health-Care Poll, over one in 10
 adults say they or someone in their household have gotten sick from food
 they bought at the supermarket, a restaurant or elsewhere, yet only a third
 of those reported the incident. However, most U.S. adults report following
 food safety warnings to some degree and almost equally large numbers
 respond by ceasing to purchase food products that are suspected of being
 unsafe for some period of time. In recent months there have been several
 instances where food products have been recalled or safety warnings have
 been issued. These survey findings indicate that food safety warning
 outreach campaigns to consumers are reasonably effective.
     These are some of the results of an online survey of 2,041 U.S. adults,
 ages 18 and older, conducted by Harris Interactive(R) between December 12
 and 14, 2006 for The Wall Street Journal Online's Health Industry Edition
 (www.wsj.com/health).
     Of the 13 percent of adults who say they or someone in their household
 have gotten sick from food that they bought at a supermarket, restaurant or
 some other place; most do not report it to anyone while just over one-third
 (35%) reported it to at least one of the following:
     -- The place where the food was purchased (20%)
     -- Their doctor (17%)
     -- Their local government agency (4%).
 
     The poll also reveals:
     -- A majority of adults (58%) think the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
        (FDA) should be primarily responsible for setting the rules for food
        handling, production and packaging in order to ensure the safety of the
        products. Fewer say the local department of health (12%) or the
        companies that produce and distribute food products (12%) should bear
        the responsibility.
 
     -- 95 percent of adults follow food safety announcements to some extent.
        Of these, 67 percent stop eating the product until they learn it is
        safe to do so, 15 percent stop eating the product entirely, and equal
        numbers stop eating the product for some time, but don't look for
        additional information to see when it's safe to eat again (9%), or do
        nothing at all (9%).
     Food safety surveillance -- among other things -- requires being able
 to track individuals' purchases back to the locations where a potentially
 harmful product is purchased, packaged or produced. This requires timely
 feedback from consumers to those who are responsible for monitoring food
 safety; which includes local governing agencies and the FDA. These findings
 suggest that with greater awareness and education, consumers can play a
 more effective role in this process by reporting instances when they
 suspect that they or a family member are sick from a food product they
 purchased.
                                    TABLE 1
                             FOOD-RELATED ILLNESSES
     "In the past year, have you or has anyone in your household gotten sick
 from
    food that you bought at a supermarket, restaurant or some other place?"
 
     Base: All adults
 
                                       Total
                                         %
     Yes, someone got sick              13
     No, no one got sick                87
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 2
                        REPORTING FOOD-RELATED ILLNESSES
                 "At the time did you do any of the following?"
     Base: Someone got sick from food purchased at a supermarket, restaurant
 or other
                                                           Total
                                                             %
     Report to one or more of the
      following (Net)                                       35
       Report this to the place where the
        food was purchased                                  20
       See or talk to your doctor about it                  17
       Report this to the local government
        agency                                               4
     None of these                                          65
 
     Note: Multiple-response question
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 3
           SETTING RULES FOR FOOD HANDLING, PRODUCTION AND PACKAGING
     "Who do you think should be primarily responsible for setting the rules
 for food handling, production and packaging in order to ensure the safety
 of these
                                   products?"
 
     Base: All adults
 
                                                              Total
                                                                %
     The US Food and Drug Administration                       58
     Local departments of health                               12
     The companies that produce, and
      distribute food products                                 12
     The restaurants and stores that sell
      food products                                             5
     Local departments of sanitation                            2
     Some other organization                                    1
     None of these                                              1
     Not sure                                                   9
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 4
               FOLLOWING FOOD SAFETY WARNINGS AND PRODUCT RECALLS
     "Sometimes food products are recalled from the market or warnings are
 issued
     that a product is suspected of making people sick. How closely do you
 follow
                   these kinds of food safety announcements?"
 
     Base: All adults
 
                                                           Total
                                                             %
     Follow food safety announcements (Net)                 95
      To a great extent                                     30
      To some extent                                        43
      To a minor extent                                     22
     Not at all                                              5
 
 
 
                                    TABLE 5
                         ACTING ON FOOD SAFETY WARNINGS
 "What do you typically do when you hear about a food safety concern or product
                                    recall?"
 
     Base: Follow food safety announcements
 
                                                             Total
                                                               %
     Stop eating the product (Net)                            91
      Stop eating the product entirely                        15
      Stop eating the product until I learn
       that it's safe to do so                                67
      Stop eating the product for some time,
       but don't look for additional
       information to see when it's safe to eat again          9
      Do nothing                                               9
 
 
     Methodology
     Harris Interactive(R) conducted this online survey within the United
 States between December 12 and 14, 2006 among a national cross section of
 2,041 adults, ages 18 years and over. Figures for age, gender,
 race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary
 to align with population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also
 used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.
     All surveys are subject to several sources of error. These include:
 sampling error (because only a sample of a population is interviewed);
 measurement error due to question wording and/or question order,
 deliberately or unintentionally inaccurate responses, non-response
 (including refusals), interviewer effects (when live interviewers are used)
 and weighting.
     With one exception (sampling error) the magnitude of the errors that
 result cannot be estimated. There is, therefore, no way to calculate a
 finite "margin of error" for any survey and the use of these words should
 be avoided.
     With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is
 possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not
 other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With pure
 probability samples of 2,041 adults, one could say with a ninety-five
 percent probability that the results would have a sampling error of +/- 3
 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples would be
 higher and would vary. However, that does not take other sources of error
 into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and
 therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
     About The Wall Street Journal Online
     The Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com, published by Dow Jones &
 Company (NYSE:   DJ), is the largest paid subscription news site on the Web.
 Launched in 1996, the Online Journal continues to attract quality
 subscribers that are at the top of their industries, with 788,000
 subscribers world-wide as of Q3, 2006.
     The Online Journal offers three industry-specific verticals: the award-
 winning Health, Media & Marketing and now Law. Health offers authoritative
 analysis, breaking news and commentary from top industry journalists. Media
 & Marketing is designed for professionals in the advertising, marketing,
 entertainment and media industries. Law is designed to provide law firms
 and attorneys timely information on events and trends important to the
 legal market. Subscribers to these verticals also get access to the full
 content of the Online Journal.
     In 2005, the Online Journal was awarded a Codie Award for Best Online
 News Service for the second consecutive year, and its Health Industry
 Edition was awarded Best Online Science or Technology Service for the third
 consecutive year. The Wall Street Journal Online network includes
 CareerJournal.com, OpinionJournal.com, StartupJournal.com,
 RealEstateJournal.com and CollegeJournal.com.
     About Harris Interactive
     Harris Interactive is the 12th largest and fastest-growing market
 research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights
 and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions
 which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris
 Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest
 running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market
 research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world's
 largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris
 Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and
 Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a
 global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau,
 HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data
 collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking
 research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be
 obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com.
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to
 participate in online surveys, register at
 http://go.hpolsurveys.com/Health.
     Press Contacts:
 
     Michelle Soto
     Harris Interactive
     585-214-7665
 
     Christine Mohan
     Dow Jones & Company
     212-416-2114
 
     Harris Interactive Inc. 1/07
 
 SOURCE Harris Interactive Inc.