The drop in food confidence mirrors a similar drop last June, when a salmonella outbreak traced to jalapeno peppers sickened nearly 1,500 people.
The study involves continuously tracking consumer confidence in food supply safety via a weekly online survey of about 175 consumers from across the nation. The consumers are selected each week by a national market research company.
This indicator is unique because of its continuous tracking feature, Jean Kinsey, director of the Food Industry Center at the University of Minnesota, said in a statement. "The irony of this is -- less than 1 percent of the peanut butter consumed in the United States was involved in the contamination, but some people will not eat anything with peanuts," Kinsey told United Press International.