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University of Florida

Survey: Most Floridians concerned about food waste, safety

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A table of fresh fruit and produce at a farmer's market.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Often without much thought, Americans throw out more than one-third of all food grown in the United States each year. However, a majority of Floridians acknowledge food waste is a major concern.

­­­Sixty percent of Floridians agreed or strongly agreed that they are concerned about food waste in their household, according to a recent food waste survey of 500 Florida residents conducted by the Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Florida. The PIE Center is part of the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

It was also discovered through the survey that fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products most often go to waste. Oppositely, beverages, spices and seafood are the food items that go to waste least.

The survey also captured public perceptions on food safety.

Results from the survey revealed that 42 percent of Floridians feel that food safety is a major concern and 68 percent feel responsible for their own food safety.

An overwhelming 91 percent of Floridians often or always wash fruits and vegetables before consumption to ensure food safety, and 43 percent use a thermometer while cooking meat.

In addition, 68 percent of Floridians indicated that they learned about proper safe handling of food from their parents, while only 24 percent learned about safe food practices from scientists.

“The research results show opportunities to continue to educate and communicate with consumers about food related issues such as how to reduce food waste and effective food safety practices,” said Joy Rumble, assistant professor in agricultural education and communication at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Rumble led the survey for the PIE Center in the fall of 2015. For more information on the survey, visit http://www.piecenter.com/2016/05/17/floridians-hunger-for-food-safety/.

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By: Ashley McLeod, 850-902-3888, ashleynmcleod@ufl.edu

Source: Joy Rumble, 352-273-1663, jnrumble@ufl.edu

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