Executive Director, Issues Management — NCBA Summary
The checkoff-funded beef safety tracking survey conducted
in November 2004 found that fresh beef steaks/roasts remained
the protein with the highest consumer confidence in safety. The
survey asks consumers to give grades to foods for being safe to
eat and 76 percent of survey respondents gave steak/roast an A
or B for safety.
The beef safety tracking surveys are quarterly telephone
surveys of a national, random sample of U.S. adults.
Vegetarians do not answer the survey. The margin of error for
survey data is plus/minus 3.2 percent.
General food safety
The percentage of Americans giving U.S. food in general an
A or ...view middle of the document...
The percentage of “top two” scores (4-5 ratings on the scale)
indicate the issues of greatest concern.
Safety issues tend not to be top of mind with consumers,
evidenced by the fact that safety issues barely register when
consumers state reasons for eating less beef. However, when
asked to think about specific safety concerns, bacteria (62%)
and pesticides (62%) top the list. Consumer concerns about
chemical additives (58%) and mad cow disease (57%) make up
a second tier of safety concerns. Concerns about mad cow
disease did not increase significantly as a result of the first U.S.
case of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in December
2003, and in fact, currently are significantly lower than the 61
percent concern level measured in November 2003.
Other issues rated as lower concerns include hormones
(50%), genetically modified foods (46%), antibiotics (45%) and
irradiated foods (40%). The only issue that has shown a
significant increase in level of concern in the past year is
chemical additives which increased from 50 percent in
November 2003 to the current 58 percent.
Specific food product safety concerns
The survey asks respondents to choose, from a list of six
foods, the one food they are most concerned about in terms of
being safe to eat. Typically, only about 15 percent of consumers
choose beef as their food of highest concern. However, driven
by the intense media coverage surrounding the first U.S. BSE