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NPD: Americans Trust Food Supply Despite Concerns About Mad Cow

PORT WASHINGTON, NY - Concerns about mad cow disease have hit an all time high in America, though consumers simultaneously expressed confidence in the safety of beef, reported the NPD Group.

Twice a month The NPD Group's Food Safety Monitor tracks food safety concerns in the United States. The final report from the week that U.S. officials announced the first mad cow case in America (Dec. 24-31) finds 72% of consumers are concerned about mad cow disease. That's up from 57% in the previous wave of data collected Dec. 10-17.

Even still, nearly three out of four consumers tell The NPD Group that they are confident that the foods they buy from supermarkets are safe. Of the 537 people surveyed in the most recent wave (Dec. 24-31), 70% of consumers say they feel foods sold in supermarkets are safe. That's up six percentage points from the previous survey fielded Dec. 10-17th, 2003 and up seven percentage points vs. the same time period a year ago. Fifty-three percent of consumers told NPD that they feel foods sold in restaurants are safe. That's up five percentage points vs. the previous survey (Dec. 10-17) and vs. the same time period a year ago.

During the week the mad cow case was identified, The NPD Group's SalesTrac(r) Weekly Report found that restaurant sales showed the strongest increase in a year and a half. Same store sales at restaurants for the week ending Dec. 29 were up 5% compared with a 1% increase a year ago. "Americans eat out at fast food restaurants more than at any other restaurant, so this is telling us that fast food is not seeing an impact from the latest news," said Harry Balzer, NPD vice president.

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