Consumers Want Clean or Else

Sep 19, 2002

More than half of supermarket shoppers and nearly three-quarters of fast food patrons would leave immediately if they thought the store was dirty, according to a consumer survey by Opinion Research Corporation International on behalf of Kimberly-Clark Professional.

The survey of 1,046 adults found that 78 percent of grocery store shoppers and 82 percent of fast food restaurant goers say their purchasing decisions are influenced by a location’s cleanliness or lack thereof.

Consumers make a strong connection between cleanliness and food safety. Twenty-seven
percent say they would not return to the same location if it were involved in
a food recall or the outbreak of a foodborne illness.

Linwood Herndon, grocery segment manager for Kimberly-Clark Professional said, “People often make an intuitive connection between the cleanliness of a grocery store or restaurant and the cleanliness or safety of the food found in that store or restaurant. Whether it’s a dirty counter or table, a spill on the floor, or a food handler that doesn’t pay attention to proper handwashing practices, the general public has an awareness of conditions that may affect the safety of their food.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is HACCP (Hazard Analysis and
Critical Control Point) enough to assure food safety? Is it practiced widely
enough and being enforced by employers?

Food safety and store/restaurant cleanliness will always
be an important issue for consumers. Just in the past day we’ve seen reports
of a Target in Chicago closing after rat droppings were discovered.

Elsewhere, at least 13 in the Northeast are said to have
died from an outbreak of Listeria. It is believed that contaminated food is
the culprit here. The FDA is telling people in the affected states to avoid
hot dogs, soft cheese and unpasteurized milk until it locates the source(s)
of the infection. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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