February 16, 2009

Many making peanut adjustments

About 15 percent of U.S. adults say they have stopped eating all foods containing peanuts, a survey indicates.

The survey, conducted by the Harvard Opinion Research Program at the Harvard School of Public Health, finds 93 percent of Americans have heard or read about the recent ongoing recall of peanut products.

Among those who are aware of the recall, 61 percent say they have taken one or more precautions to reduce their risk of getting sick from contaminated peanut products.

About 1-in-4 say they have checked ingredient lists on foods in the grocery store to make sure they know which products contain peanuts; 25 percent say they have thrown away foods in their home that they think might be on the recall list; 22 percent say they have stopped ordering foods containing peanuts in restaurants; and 28 percent say they stopped eating those foods they heard were in the recall.

The poll found 25 percent mistakenly believe that major national brands of peanut butter are involved in the recall. Seventy percent correctly identify peanut butter crackers as being involved.

However, less than half were aware that several other products containing peanuts have been recalled, including some in each of the following food categories -- snack bars; cakes, brownies, and cookies; pet treats; candy; pre-packaged meals and ice cream.

The survey, of 1,283 U.S. adults -- which was conducted Feb. 4-8, during the peanut product recall that began Jan. 12 -- has a margin of error of plus/minus 3.5 percentage points.