Many Americans More Concerned about Food Safety: Survey

LANSING, Ill. -- As September's National Food Safety Month kicks off, a new survey of 2,500 Americans revealed that 93 percent of Americans are as concerned or more concerned than they were last year about contracting food-borne illnesses.

The study, conducted by TNS and commissioned by National Pasteurized Eggs, also showed that 96 percent of respondents say that media coverage has contributed to keeping or increasing that concern over the past year.

In addition to naming meats, fruits, and vegetables as sources of food-borne illness, 81 percent of respondents said they know that eggs are a known cause of salmonella poisoning, a major food-borne illness, if they are consumed raw or undercooked. Still, 57 percent of Americans report eating eggs that are not fully cooked as their preferred style, including those prepared sunny side up, over easy or as Eggs Benedict.

Meanwhile, less than two percent of those surveyed can accurately report the internal temperature to which an egg should be cooked in order to eliminate salmonella: 160 degrees, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Services; and U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Other key findings in the survey included:
-- 70 percent of Americans believe the best way to eliminate the risk of salmonella is to thoroughly cook eggs. However, 57 percent of Americans eat eggs that are prepared in styles that are not thoroughly cooked.
-- 33 percent of respondents say that cleanliness or avoiding cross contamination are the most effective ways to eliminate the risk of salmonella poisoning.
-- Almost a quarter of Americans believe that having quality food habits is the best way to avoid food-borne illness.

The TNS survey was conducted in June 2007 among 2,500 respondents nationally representative of the U. S population.
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