Millions of consumers in America (and worldwide) look forward to the FDA as a leading entity in ensuring food safety. In recognition to this demand of worldwide expectations, the agency has been taking up several measures in upgrading its activities. With an aim to interpret consumer views on the safety of allowed foods, the agency recently announced a survey that promises to explore various overlooked concerns in the market. The last time the survey took place was in 2010, when the system collected crucial data on exploring consumer understanding food safety behavioral patterns among consumers. The survey also noted the general attitude among consumers on food technologies like biotechnology and irradiation.
The newest survey would continue to ask the same questions to consumers along with some important additional queries. New topics have been emerging in discussions among consumer forums and social media platforms. Especially, there has been increasing global concerns on the biotechnology aspect questioning the feasibility of including genetically modified foods in the daily diet. Many experts believe that the latest impetus on updating the survey is in an urgent response to the global concerns on food safety. Validating these assumptions, the FDA does include several crucial new surveying parameters. The new questionnaire places special focus on interpreting consumer understanding of mechanical tenderization of beef and developing awareness on foodborne pathogens.
The survey intends to take a close look on the evolving epidemiology of foodborne diseases, especially listeriosis because of recent data showing a significant hike in the prevalence of the illness. The Food Safety Survey or the FSS would collect data on self-reported behavior trends regarding food safety practices. The various concerns that the survey addresses include practices of washing hands before eating, maintaining the cleanliness of the cutting board, preparation and consumption of risky foods, and the usage of food thermometers. The results from the survey intend to improve consumer behavior in the direction of a general good health. The survey would also look at the risks associated with consuming raw sprouts and educate the customer on potential risks from pathogens like the Toxoplasma gondii.
About listeriosis, it has been hitting adults over 60 years of age most hard. There has been a noticeable increase in the susceptibility to the disease. The agency assumes that this may derive from the increasing usage of medications that compromise the natural immune system. So, to get a clear picture, the agency would also be asking about a list of medications especially from adults over 60 years of age. The FSS would complete over telephonic conversations. The federal agency plans to connect with 4000 consumers over their cell phones and the landlines. The general public can also comment on the survey until December 31. This initiative from the agency would also have future educational utility as it plans to evaluate the effectiveness of the natural immunity in combating diseases. Natural immunity is still largely a medical mystery with phenomenon like the placebo effect posing significant challenges to scientific understanding of the natural system.