In this year’s Food and Health Survey in the USA, 36 percent of respondents are concerned with chemicals in their food. This is an increase of 13 percent in just one year, and beats food borne illness by two percent.
The Survey is run by International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation.
Interestingly, the concept of “chemicals in food” has different meaning, depending upon whether you are a consumer or in the food industry. The general perception by the public is the chemicals in the food means anything added to the food and is not a good thing.
The result is really about perceived risk (“the chemicals in the food”) and the actual risk (the bacteria in the food which can cause food poisoning if poorly handled).
Carl Winter, extension food toxicologist and vice chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California at Davis, said; “The risks posed by pesticides in food pale in comparison to the risks from foodborne illness. Our typical exposure to pesticide residues is at levels more than 1 million times lower than levels that, when given to laboratory animals on a daily basis throughout their lifetimes, do not produce any noticeable effects in the animals. This strongly contrasts with the risk of foodborne illness, where the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the incidence at 48 million cases per year in the U.S.”
It would be interesting to find out if this increasing concern of chemicals in the food is also happening in Australia.
September is Food Safety Month in the USA, whereas in Australia, Food Safety Week is the second week in November. Both focus on promoting good food safety practices by consumers to reduce the likelihood of food borne illness.