Consumers confident in beef safety, but not food safety

by Bryan Salvage
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SAN DIEGO – Despite an increase in overall concern about food safety in recent months, consumers remain confident in the safety of beef products, according to the results of a survey by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. More than 80% of respondents believed the entire beef industry is working together to ensure safe and wholesome food.

More than two-thirds of the surveyed consumers said they believe the number of food recalls and foodborne illnesses is increasing. Forty-nine percent of consumers answered the same in November 2008.

"This survey confirms food safety is on consumers’ minds, and we want them to know it’s on our minds, as well," said James O. Reagan, Ph.D., chairman of the Beef Industry Food Safety Council and senior vice president of research, education and innovation with the N.C.B.A.

Eighty-one percent of respondents agreed the entire beef industry – from ranchers to processors and retailers – is working together to provide consumers with safe, wholesome food, when asked specifically about the beef industry’s efforts to improve beef safety. Seventy-eight percent agreed safeguards developed by beef-industry scientists have made ground beef safer than ever.

"We’re pleased that consumers recognize the work the industry is doing to protect food safety," Mr. Reagan said.

 The national survey of 1,023 Americans had a margin of error of +/- 3.1% and was funded by The Beef Checkoff.

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