The consumers' perspective on the safety of organic foods: An opportunity for future research Chapter uri icon


  • The documented growth and public interest in organic food production supports the need for continued research from both a food-safety and consumer perspective. Current research, while limited, suggests that fruits and vegetables could become contaminated with microbial pathogens regardless of how they are grown. However, the available research does not appear to firmly legitimize concerns that contamination by food pathogens is more likely to occur among organically grown produce. Additional studies, particularly those that compare the microbial quality among organic, uncertified organic, and conventionally grown produce can benefit the industry's supporters, justify the need for a having a national certification policy, and help calm the fears of organic food critics. The implementation of the USDA National Organic Program assured consumers that foods labeled "organic" are indeed organically grown. However, it is unclear whether the public understands the different categories of certified organic foods. Consumer studies addressing this question may be beneficial. Outreach efforts that educate consumers about differences between the terms "organic" and "natural" may also be in order. Finally, it is acknowledged that while a large percentage of individual consumers are confident in the safety of the U.S. food supply, some concerns remain. How do these concerns differ between consumers of organic foods and those who choose those conventionally produced? It has been suggested that consumers of organic food may be less confident in the conventional food supply compared to other consumers. If this is accurate, what are the factors behind that reduced confidence? Furthermore, are food-handling practices between the two groups different? Answers to these questions may be helpful to educators as they develop and conduct food-safety outreach programs to different clientele groups. © 2010 by The University of Arkansas Press. All rights reserved.

author list (cited authors)

  • Anding, J., & Crandall, P. G.

Book Title

  • Perspectives on Food-Safety Issues of Animal-Derived Foods

publication date

  • December 2010