According to a recent Harris Poll, 42% of Americans say they have become sick from something they ate over the past two years. And most know (or think they know) the culprit. The perception that a food has made you sick can change your food habits irrevocably. I mean it’s tough to shake the memories of an upset stomach.
[Since my first pregnancy, I still haven’t been able to look at a swordfish the same way again.]
26% of Americans who say they have experienced food poisoning of some flavor say they have eliminated that food from their diet ENTIRELY, and 15% say they will advise their friends and family to avoid it as well. So the bad PR alone is enough for food manufacturers/suppliers to make sure that no food misconduct happens on their watch, lest they be the subject of intense media scrutiny, loss of clients and increased legislative action.
[The sushi restaurant in our town must still be marveling at why it’s take-home has plummeted in the past few months – ever since my husband’s “stomach flu”.]
There is slightly more concern over the safety of fresh foods (like fruits, vegetables, meats and poultry) than there is over canned, frozen or other packaged food. But actually, I still wouldn’t describe the concern as overwhelming. Only 21% of Americans are extremely/very concerned that fresh foods are safe for their family to eat (although on the flip side, I suppose about 1 in 5 Americans being really concerned is nothing to belittle). And, 73% admit they have at least some concern. So, perhaps this latest figure is what’s most telling. How do Americans react who have a little bit of anxiety (but not much) about the fresh foods they eat – do they avoid it entirely? Eat it occasionally or only when offered? Or eat it without hesitation?
[Spinach still isn’t on my grocery list though I’ll eat the spinach burrito at Tomatillo and happily down my best friend’s spinach and artichoke dip.]
How about you? Have you ever eaten something that you can’t shake?