Data collected in the continuous Consumer Food Safety/ Defense Tracking Study (CFST) since the week of May 3, 2010, shows a sizable decline in its Preparedness Index (PPI) - indicating likely consumer concern over the preparedness of the country to deal with the impact of the Gulf Oil Spill on food safety. Between the weeks of May 3rd and May 17th the Preparedness Index fell 16 points.
The Preparedness Index is composed of the following two questions:
"In thinking about food safety, that is the natural or accidental contamination of food, do you think the U. S. food supply is safer today than it was a year ago?" (Uses a 6 point scale with 1=Definitely Not Safer, and 6=Definitely Safer).
"Thinking about food defense do you think the United States is better prepared for a terrorist attack on the food supply than it was a year ago?" (Uses a 6 point scale with 1=Definitely Not Safer, and 6=Definitely Safer).
A copy of the Index graph is available at May 2010 Preparedness Index.pdf. For more results and trends from the CFST project and a more detailed description of the indexes and methodology, please visit the CFST web page.
The CFST project will continue measuring the impact of the Gulf Oil Spill on consumer confidence. Several questions have been added to the survey to examine the implications of the Gulf Oil Spill on consumers' perceptions on food safety, and seafood safety in particular. Project researchers continue to monitor the oil spill incident and will provide future updates on the Food Thought blog as they unfold.
CFST research is a joint project between The Food Industry Center and the Louisiana State University AgCenter with funding from the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. The Perceived Preparedness Index (PPI) measures the change in consumers' belief about how prepared we (government and private companies) are to respond to food safety incidents. The Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) measures the change in consumers' confidence in the safety of the U.S. food system. When the indexes were initiated in May 2008, only 30 percent of consumers indicated that they believed the food supply was safer than one year ago.