Consumers' Association of Canada (Manitoba) - 2009-10

21–222 Osborne Street South
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3L 1Z3
Tel.: 204-452-2576
Fax: 204-284-1876

1. How Safe is Our Food?  Consumer Perception of Food Safety in Canada


In the wake of highly publicized food recalls, and reports of food borne illness and death caused by contaminated food and chemicals in food, how do consumers perceive the safety of Canada's food supply?  During the last 12 months, consumers in Canada have been inundated with media reports of food safety hazards and product recalls. Words like "salmonella" and "listeriosis" have become part of the average consumer's vocabulary. A wide variety of food recalls have given consumers cause for concern, from prepared meats containing Listeria bacteria to imported products from China containing milk ingredients contaminated with melamine. Vegetables (e.g., spinach, tomatoes) and spices have not escaped the recent trend in recalls. The BSE (mad cow disease) outbreak a few years ago and recalls of hamburger meat in the US and Canada raised concerns not only about the safety of meat, but also about the effectiveness of the food inspection services.

While consumer opinion research regarding food safety issues has been done in the past (Agriculture Canada, 2004, 2006), there is no Canada-wide research that addresses recent food safety concerns that have arisen in the last twelve months.

Expected Outcome

The goal of this project is to determine the current level of consumer confidence in the safety of Canada's food supply, and to make recommendations to government and industry that would meet consumers' expectations for food safety.