Quake Shakes Consumer Faith in Asian Food Safety

April 05, 2011

Hear your fellow readers' concerns in the results of an exclusive SupermarketGuru.com poll

The continued radiation leakage in Japan leaves U.S. consumers with practically no confidence in food safety from this part of the world. First crops, cattle and milk, and now seafood in area waters have been reported to be contaminated, and are suspect in the minds of U.S. adults who took part in an exclusive SupermarketGuru.com online poll.

Some 87% of survey respondents agreed with the blanket statement that they are concerned about the safety of foods from near where the earthquake and tsunami devastated life. Almost as many (84%) cited radioactivity as their cause for feeling this way, while more than six in 10 (62%) cited pathogens and bacteria, 13% said bad taste, 12% said shelf life, and 10% said less nutritious. Multiple responses were allowed on this question.

These consumers health concerns have prompted two-thirds (64%) to change or consider changes in the way they buy and prepare foods. How? By not buying foods from Japan (59%), China (39%) or Asia (36%); washing produce and seafood more than usual (29%), and cooking foods thoroughly (18%). Multiple responses were allowed on this question too.

The majority of U.S. adults (60%) expect to follow these changes indefinitely. By contrast, 17% said ‘several months at least,’ 6% said one year, and 1% each said one week or one month.

Most consumers anticipate higher prices (52%) here to result from the natural disaster. Another 31% expect stricter standards and more testing to be put in place, and 11% believe lower food quality will be an outcome.

Anxiety is so high that comments on the SupermarketGuru Facebook page included this from one consumer – “We need new toxicity labels on all imported food products.”