No they don’t: Netherlands study says consumers read food hygiene warning labels on poultry, and surveys still suck

Tony McDougal of Poultry World reports that researchers wanted to see how the label impacted consumer perceptions on risk and food-handling behaviour in the light that poultry meat is an important source of foodborne infections, such as campylobacter, salmonella and E.coli.

A random sample of 1235 adults from a representative internet panel received an email linking to the study questionnaire. Information was gathered about knowledge of safe food-handling regarding poultry, their current food-handling behaviour and intention to change after reading the label, as well as influencing factors.

The results, published in the October edition of the journal Food Control, found that respondents of households with people aged 65 or older, with safe food-handling practices and who judge foodborne infections as severe, were more prone to have read the label.

The study also found that after reading the label during the survey, the intention to change behaviour did not differ between the readers and previous non-readers.

The report’s authors, from the Dutch Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, concluded that “a label is a relatively easy and reasonable way of informing and educating consumers about safe food-handling.

“The majority of the respondents had read the label on poultry meat and scored it as important, useful and reassuring. Therefore investigating the feasibility and possible benefits of a similar label on other meat products could be worthwhile.”

Does not account for the fallibility of self-reported surveys (we all wash our hands); does not account for multi-languages in the diverse cultures we all prepare food; does not account for cross-contamination.

Consumers should not be the CCP on your brand.

Get it together.