Consumer attitudes towards food safety have an effect on industrial processes including production, packaging, distribution, and product development. Changes in consumer attitudes have direct effects on industries in terms of their mode of operation and profitability. Consumers should not over rely on the government for the safety of their diets but instead, they should remain proactive about their health.
Definition of Terms
Food safety: This is the state of tolerable and acceptable risks of diseases, illnesses, or injury from consuming food products. This state is achieved through government regulations, policies, setting standards, technology, and monitoring among other strategies.
The references used in this research paper were obtained using Yahoo and Google search engines. The research is limited to materials that are available on the internet. The subtopics were used to refine the search results from books, journals, government publications, and other online resources. Some of the journals used were obtained from academic databases that are accessible to students. Many past researchers including government agencies have conducted surveys on perceptions of consumers towards food safety. Thus, there is a lot of information on food safety issues on the internet. The year of publication of books and journals acted as a guide to differentiating past and current issues in food safety. Past Customer Attitudes towards Food Safety The attitudes of consumers towards food safety have been evolving over the years. These attitudes are largely influenced by the amount of information that consumers on food procession and packaging among other things. The perception of consumers determines the kind of foods that they purchase. Several surveys have been conducted on consumer attitude towards nutrition and food safety. The findings of such surveys indicate that in the past, many consumers and household were concerned about their fat intake. A survey conducted by the Department of Agriculture between 1979 and 1980 indicated that 23% of all the households in America were changing their diets due to health risks associated with high fat intake. The findings of the same survey indicated that 23% of the households were concerned about cholesterol intake while 23 % of households were concerned about reducing their salt intake (National Research Council 1988, p. 63). The 1979-1980 survey also indicated that 43% of household were trying to lose weight. The statistics of this survey demonstrate that most consumers associated food safety and nutrition with the possibility of gaining more weight or higher cholesterol levels from the foods they consumed. Another survey conducted in 1986 indicated that consumer attitudes were changing to include the whole content of food instead of fats alone. The study was conducted by the National Restaurant Association and over half of the participants in the survey indicated that they were reducing the amount of some food components in their diets including sugar, salt, fat and cholesterol. In the same survey, two thirds of the participants indicated that they were changing their diets to include more nutritious foods such as fibre, starch and calcium. A different survey conducted in the same year (1986) by the Food Marketing Institute indicated that 93% of consumers were concerned ab