FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 7, 2010
CONTACT: Greta Houlahan
Americans Need More Food Safety Education for the Home
ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Americans are uncertain about some basic food safety practices in the home, according to a recent survey from NSF International, a not-for-profit public health and safety organization. A phone survey of 1,000 American consumers found that people are in fact doing either too much or too little when it comes to the safe handling and preparation of meals. For example, consumers are taking great caution in the initial food preparation stages, as 78% of respondents knew the right way to defrost meat and poultry safely (such as defrosting in a refrigerator), but only 20% of them bother to use a meat thermometer to ensure food is properly cooked.
Similarly, consumers are overly cautious when it comes to discarding leftover food too soon and relying perhaps too heavily on expiration dates on food packages. Survey findings indicated that 40% percent of consumers either do not save leftovers or throw out leftovers within one to two days. However, leftovers stored properly can likely be saved for upwards of three to four days. A similar trend was found with consumers’ threshold for expiration dates – as two-thirds (66%) of consumers don’t eat (and don’t serve) food past the date shown on the label. In reality, Americans seem to be unaware that many food product dates are a guide for freshness and not directly related to food safety.
Additional survey results found:
“These survey findings demonstrate the need for additional consumer education around food safety in the home. Many of the food safety practices we learn at home when we’re young are carried with us through life and passed to the next generation,” says Cheryl Luptowski, Home Safety Expert for NSF International. “Food safety is everyone’s responsibility, and consumers need to put added attention around food safety practices in the home. Learning, understanding and changing food safety behavior through simple everyday practices will make a substantial difference in reducing the incidence of foodborne illness in America.”
Some basic food safety practices that NSF International recommends for the home include:
The Food Safety Survey was developed by NSF International. The survey was fielded via ORC CARAVAN Telephone Omnibus between July 22 and July 25, 2010 among a nationally representative sample of 1,000. The margin of error for the findings is +/- 3.1 percentage points with a confidence interval of 95 percent. The survey sought to better understand consumer behaviors and practices around food safety and shed light on consumers’ knowledge of food safety best practices.
About NSF International
NSF International, an independent not-for-profit organization, certifies products and writes standards for food, water and consumer goods to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment (www.nsf.org). With sixty-five years of experience in food safety inspection, certification, and auditing, NSF International is a known leader in the food safety industry- working with consumers, companies and governmental agencies.
NSF International’s programs include food equipment certification programs for home and industrial appliances as well as food supplier programs that verify food and bottled beverages are produced according to national and global food safety standards. To see how NSF helps protect and improve food safety throughout the food supply chain visit www.nsfsafetytips.org
NSF is committed to the advancement of domestic and international food safety. In March, NSF International co-sponsored the 2010 Food Safety Education Conference with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The conference discussed tools and technologies that empower consumers worldwide to know and practice proper food safety practices. To learn more about this year’s conference visit the USDA's website.
ORC, an Infogroup company, is a leading global market research firm with offices across the U.S., Europe and Asia Pacific region. ORC offers the unique ability to integrate primary and secondary research, competitive intelligence and expert insight to address the business challenges of its clients worldwide. The company has been a partner of CNN on the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll since 2006. To learn more about ORC, visit www.opinionresearch.com.