Trends in U.S. Consumers' Safe Handling and Consumption of Food and Their Risk Perceptions, 1988 through 2010

$37.00 plus tax (Refund Policy)

Buy Article:


Although survey results measuring the safety of consumers' food handling and risky food consumption practices have been published for over 20 years, evaluation of trends is impossible because the designs of published studies are not comparable. The Food Safety Surveys used comparable methods to interview U.S. adults by telephone in 1988, 1993, 2001, 2006, and 2010 about food handling (i.e., cross-contamination prevention) and risky consumption practices (eating raw or undercooked foods from animals) and perceived risk from foodborne illness. Sample sizes ranged from 1,620 to 4,547. Responses were analyzed descriptively, and four indices measuring meat, chicken, and egg cross-contamination, fish cross-contamination, risky consumption, and risk perceptions were analyzed using generalized linear models. The extent of media coverage of food safety issues was also examined. We found a substantial improvement in food handling and consumption practices and an increase in perceived risk from foodborne illness between 1993 and 1998. All indices were stable or declined between 1998 and 2006. Between 2006 and 2010, the two safe food handling practice indices increased significantly, but risk perceptions did not change, and safe consumption declined. Women had safer food handling and consumption practices than men. The oldest and youngest respondents and those with the highest education had the least safe food handling behaviors. Changes in safety of practices over the survey years are consistent with the change in the number of media stories about food safety in the periods between surveys. This finding suggests that increased media attention to food safety issues may raise awareness of food safety hazards and increase vigilance in food handling by consumers.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park, Maryland 20740, USA 2: School of Economics, University of Maine, 5782 Winslow Hall, Orono, Maine 04469, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • IAFP members must first sign in on the right to access full text articles of JFP

    First published in 1937, the Journal of Food Protection®, is a refereed monthly publication. Each issue contains scientific research and authoritative review articles reporting on a variety of topics in food science pertaining to food safety and quality. The Journal is internationally recognized as the leading publication in the field of food microbiology with a readership exceeding 11,000 scientists from 70 countries. The Journal of Food Protection® is indexed in Index Medicus, Current Contents, BIOSIS, PubMed, Medline, and many others.

    Print and online subscriptions are available to Members and Institutional subscribers. Online visitors who are not IAFP Members or journal subscribers will be charged on a pay-per-view basis. Information can be obtained by calling +1 800.369.6337; +1 515.276.3344; fax: +1 515.276.8655, E-mail: or Web site:
  • Information for Authors
  • Submit a Paper
  • Subscribe to this Title
  • Membership Information
  • Information for Advertisers
  • ingentaconnect is not responsible for the content or availability of external websites
Related content



Share Content

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
ingentaconnect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more