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A string of well-publicized food recalls has apparently taken their toll on consumer eating patterns. More than half of consumers polled in a recent survey said they have stopped eating a particular food, either temporarily or permanently, as a result of recent food high profile recalls, said New York-based Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP.
Further, nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of Americans surveyed said they believe the number of food-related recalls has gone up in the past year. An even larger percentage of consumers (76 percent) said they are more worried about the foods they eat than they were five years ago.
Worries are particularly high regarding meat. Survey respondents said they're most concerned by beef recalls (78 percent), followed by chicken recalls (67 percent). Fresh fruit and vegetable recalls worried 53 percent, as did dairy product recalls.
"These findings underscore how urgent it is for food manufacturers to do all they can to address the problem of food recalls head-on," said Pat Conroy, Deloitte’s vice chairman and U.S. consumer products practice leader. "Over half of consumers say they may drop your product if they believe you are not doing what it takes to protect them and their families."
Consumers also have doubts about foods produced outside the United States. Over half of those polled said they think imported foods are "not at all" or only "somewhat" safe, while 80 percent said they believe domestically produced foods are safe. One-third said they think fresh fish is "not at all" or "somewhat" safe.
An additional finding of the survey is that 89 percent of respondents would like to see food stores sell more fruits and vegetables from local farms.
The survey, which was conducted by an independent research company in April, polled a nationally representative sample of 1,110 consumers, Deloitte said.