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Consumers and Food Safety in the U.S.: Implications for Marketers, Retailers and Foodservice

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Consumers and Food Safety in the U.S.: Implications for Marketers, Retailers and Foodservice

The nation’s food supply is arguably safer now than ever. Yet concerns regarding foodborne illness remain a serious public health issue—a reality made clear by the almost daily appearance of headlines about food recalls and outbreaks of foodborne illnesses.
Packaged Facts’ Consumers and Food Safety in the U.S.: Implications for Marketers, Retailers and Foodservice report examines the forces impacting consumer perceptions of food safety, as well as the ways marketers, retailers and foodservice companies are responding to these concerns. This all-new report uses numerous case histories to illustrate how a wide array of food industry players have handled food safety issues as the problems developed and examines the aftermath, from food manufacturers such as the now-making-a-strong-comeback Blue Bell to restaurants including the still-under-fire Chipotle. Also discussed are historical cases that have shaped how both consumers and the food and beverage industry respond to food safety concerns.

Scope and Methodology

The report covers both current events that are unfolding, impacting the food safety landscape today, and past issues that have helped shape current policy and consumer perspective. The analysis concentrates largely on two major topics: The Federal government’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which will begin taking effect in September 2016; and contamination of foods with pathogens/outbreaks of foodborne illnesses, which have been making headline news since early 2015. Among other food safety issues are allergens; mislabeled products; illegal chemical residues; toxins naturally present in foods; and bioterrorism and food defense.

Consumers and Food Safety in the U.S. draws on a proprietary Packaged Facts National Consumer Survey conducted in November-December 2015 with a sample size of 2,000 U.S. adults age 18+. The sample composition is representative of the national population by gender, age bracket, geographic region, race/ethnicity, household income bracket, and presence of children in the household. In addition, the report draws on data from U.S. government agencies (such as the Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration, and U.S. Department of Agriculture); industry publications, websites and blogs; literature from individual food and beverage marketers, retailers and foodservice companies; and other Packaged Facts reports.


  • Executive Summary
    • Overview: Scope of Report
      • Report Methodology
      • Multiple Federal Agencies Oversee Food Safety
      • The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): From Reactive to Proactive
      • Criminal Prosecutions for Food Safety Breaches
      • Three Pathogens Cause Vast Majority of Multistate Outbreaks
      • More than Half of Foodservice Workers Go to Work When Sick
      • Food Allergies Are Another Food Safety Issue
    • The Consumer
      • Concern About Food Safety Has Grown for 46% of Consumers
      • Manufacturers Held Most Responsible for Food Safety
      • Consumers Worry About Many Food Safety Issues
      • Food Allergies/Intolerances Affect Choices of One Out of Four Consumers
      • GMO Avoidance Rate Jumps 25% in Two Years
      • "Chemicals in Food" Is Consumers' Top Food Safety Concern
    • Case Histories: Marketers, Retailers, and Foodservice
      • Case Histories Illustrate Different Approaches to Food Safety Problems
      • General Mills Recalls Gluten-Free Cheerios for Undeclared Gluten
      • Peanut Corporation of America Execs Get Severe Jail Sentences for Knowingly Shipping Tainted Peanut Butter
      • Walmart Ahead of the Curve with Strict Standards and Protocols
  • Overview
    • Key Points
    • Food Safety Issues Covered in This Report
    • Report Methodology
    • The Vast Scope of Foodborne Illnesses
    • Multiple Federal Agencies Oversee Food Safety
    • Proposals for a Single Federal Regulatory Agency
    • State and Local Agencies
    • Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP)
    • The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA): From Reactive to Proactive
      • New Food Safety Rules
      • What the New Rules Mean to the Food Industry
      • Sufficient Funding Is a Major Hurdle
    • Criminal Prosecutions for Food Safety Breaches
    • Why Food Safety Is So Difficult to Control
    • Technology Brings Hope for the Future
      • Whole Genome Sequencing Changing Food Safety Science
    • Reporting Foodborne Illnesses
      • The Reportable Food Registry
      • FoodNet: A Collaborative Program Among Agencies
      • CDC Receives Additional Information from State and Local Health Departments
      • Using Social Media
    • Pathogens (Bacteria and Viruses) that Cause Foodborne Illnesses
    • Common Foodborne Pathogens
      • Botulism
      • Campylobacter
      • Clostridium perfringens
      • Cronobacter sakazakii
      • Cryptosporidium parvum
      • Cyclospora
      • Escherichia coli (E. coli)
      • Listeria
      • Norovirus
      • Salmonella
      • Shigella
      • Vibrio
      • Yersinia
    • Three Pathogens Cause Vast Majority of Multistate Outbreaks
    • Foods Most Associated with Foodborne Illnesses
      • Organic Foods Not Safer than Conventional Foods
    • More than Half of Foodservice Workers Go to Work When Sick
    • Food Recalls
    • Food Allergies Are Another Food Safety Issue
  • The Consumer
    • Key Points
    • Packaged Facts Consumer Survey
      • Concern About Food Safety Has Grown for 46% of Consumers
      • Manufacturers Held Most Responsible for Food Safety
      • Two Out of Three Consumers Believe Food Stores Should Monitor Food Safety More Closely
      • Three Out of Four Consumers Think Fast-Food Restaurants Should Monitor Food Safety More Closely
      • Consumers Worry About Various Food Safety Issues
      • Fresh Meat/Poultry a Major Food Safety Concern for 63% of Consumers
      • Food Allergies/Intolerances Affect Choices of One Out of Four Consumers
      • Four in 10 Consumers Believe GMO Foods Are Not Safe to Eat
        • Table Demographic Indicators Favoring Agreement with Statement: "GMO food products are not safe to eat," 2015 (percent of U.S. adults)
      • GMO Avoidance Rate Jumps 25% in Two Years
        • Table Avoidance of GMO Grocery Products, 2013 vs. 2015 (percent of U.S. adults)
      • 35% of Consumers Bought Non-GMO Foods in Past Month
    • International Food Information Council Foundation Survey
      • "Chemicals in Food" Is Consumers' Top Food Safety Concern
    • Food Marketing Institute: U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2015
      • Majority Confident that Food in Grocery Stores and Restaurants Is Safe
      • Consumers Believe Responsibility for Food Safety Is Shared
    • Harris Interactive
      • Consumers Worry About Food Recalls
    • Hahn Public Communications
      • How Consumers Assess Food Safety
    • Daymon Worldwide
      • Ingredient Fears Reducing Consumer Enjoyment of Foods
    • Chicago Council on Global Affairs
      • Americans Want Food Producers to Prioritize Food Safety
    • IDDBA/SupermarketGuru
      • Food Safety Survey
    • Other Consumer Surveys
      • 80% of Americans Support Mandatory Labeling for DNA in Foods
  • Case Histories—Marketers, Retailers, and Foodservice
    • Key Points
    • Case Histories Illustrate Different Approaches to Food Safety Problems
    • Case Histories: Marketers
      • Blue Bell Creameries Trying to Recover from Food Safety Crisis
      • General Mills Recalls Gluten-Free Cheerios for Undeclared Gluten
      • Jensen Farms Cantaloupes Implicated in Listeria Outbreak
      • Peanut Corporation of America Execs Get Severe Jail Sentences for Knowingly Shipping Tainted Peanut Butter
      • Quality Egg LLC Execs Sentenced
      • Taylor Farms Recalls Celery Products
      • Historical Cases
    • Case Histories: Retailers
      • Kroger Co. Stops Selling Caramel Apples
      • Walmart Ahead of the Curve with Strict Standards and Protocols
    • Case Histories: Restaurants and Foodservice
      • Bon Appetit Management Co.: Norovirus Outbreak in Seattle
      • Chipotle Mexican Grill Beset by Five Separate Food Poisoning Outbreaks
      • Historical Cases

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