Negative import news has consumers checking labels

by Staff
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FAIRFIELD, CONN. — A nationwide survey of 1,000 Americans showed more are checking labels in light of the recent and steady stream of news about unsafe imports from China and other nations, according to the Sacred Heart University Polling Institute.

While 52.9% of the consumers surveyed suggested they checked labels one year ago for nation of origin, manufacturer or ingredients, 68.6% say they are doing so today — up 15.7%. When asked, a majority, 86.3%, agreed with a statement calling for suspension of Chinese imports until it is determined the Chinese meet U.S. product and food safety standards.

Confidence in American-made and packaged products and foods is strong, according to the survey. Eighty-seven per cent said they have confidence in American-made and distributed products and food. However, fewer than half of Americans surveyed, 46.7%, agreed that the United States is doing a good job ensuring imports meet established safety and quality standards.

"It is not surprising that Americans are clearly very concerned about food imported from other countries," said Balbir Bhasin, a professor of international business at Sacred Heart University’s John F. Welch College of Business. "The government clearly needs to do more to protect the consumer for poor quality imports especially meats, fish and dairy products. Labels and expiry dates alone do not suffice."

Consumer concern about the safety of imports is one reason the Grocery Manufacturers Association has called for the implementation of a private/public alliance between the food industry and the Food and Drug Administration.

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