AbstractOn September 14, 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an advisory warning against the consumption of fresh spinach because of suspected contamination with E. coli O157:H71. Following the advisory, a series of voluntary recalls were initiated nationwide, beginning with products from Natural Selection Foods, LLC, of San Juan Bautista, California, which produced bagged fresh spinach under 30 brand names. Fresh spinach was quickly removed from store shelves and restaurant menus.
Because of the serious nature of the risk posed by exposure to E. coli O157:H7, both the FDA and the produce industry carried out aggressive information campaigns to alert the public that they should not eat fresh spinach. In response, the recall received substantial media attention, resulting in extensive coverage in both newspapers and on television news broadcasts.
The objective of this study was to examine which groups of people were most likely to be unaware of the fresh spinach recall and therefore at risk for consuming contaminated spinach.
The study used a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,200 Americans, conducted from November 8-29, 2006.
The results indicated that the majority (87%) of Americans were aware of the spinach recall. However, awareness was not uniformly distributed across the population. While only 13% of Americans were unaware of the recall overall, 22% of African Americans, 23% of the Hispanic population, 21% of Americans age 18-34 and 16% of males reported that they hadn’t heard or read about the spinach recall.
As consuming spinach prior to the recall was associated with awareness of the recall, this variable was controlled for in regression analyses. However, even after controlling for prior spinach consumption, non-Whites, people of Hispanic origin, young adults (18-34 years old) and males were significantly more likely to be unaware of the spinach recall (Table 1).
A second logistic regression model found that those age 55 and older were no more or less likely to know about the recall than those younger than 55.
SubjectsSpinach recall, E. coli, Foodborne illness outbreak, Food and Drug Administration, FDA
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