The Underwriters Laboratories Takes an Active Interest in Food Safety
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The Underwriters Laboratories Takes an Active Interest in Food Safety

Underwriters Laboratories, 117 year old independent testing agency has taken an active interest in global food safety issues. The food safety issues facing the global economy today was only part of their annual product safety report “Navigating the Product Mindset” but it will behoove you to set up and take close notice of their findings because they will impact your health.

The underwriters Laboratories were founded in 1894 by William Henry Merrill, a 25-year-old Boston electrical engineer. After being sent to inspect the Chicago's World's Fair's Palace of Electricity. Seeing the need to establish standards for electrical and fire safety standards, he remained in Chicago to found Underwriters Laboratories. From that one laboratory, Underwriters Laboratories gas expanded to 64 laboratories in 98 countries. The UL's areas of interests have also evolved from electrical and ire safety to includes many others, such as hazardous substances, water quality, environmental sustainability, and food safety to just name a few.

In preparing the food safety portion of their “Navigating the Product Mindset” annual report, investigators from the Underwriters Laboratories interviewed 2,430 individuals, both consumers of food products as well as manufactures of food products. What follows is a summary of what the full reports discloses and some of those disclosures will shock you.

Findings based on quantitative interview with food producers.

Only 2 percent of the food product manufacturers interviewed reported feeling that their company's safety procedure were in need of improvement. Ninety-eight percent of those interviewed felt that their safety procedure were up to the industry standards. Think about that for a minute. All the foodbourne illnesses being reported today belies that belief. All the food products being recalled on an almost daily bases belies the belief that 98 percent of the companies have and adequate safety precautions where food products are concerned.

The majority of the food product manufacturers believe that it is their responsibility to ensure food safety for the consumer of their products, not the governments responsibility. They believe that it is their responsibility, not the governments to keep the consumer advised of any problems or potential problems. They may believe that, but anyone cognizant of the facts has to question whether they take what they say seriously.

When asked by the UL interviewers to select a key issue that concerned them most, only 42 percent of the manufacturers named food safety as being one of those key concerns. That would lead one to believe that the other 58 percent of the manufacturers placed everything else ahead of and above their concerns for food safety.

Findings based on food consumer interviews.

The UL study shows that the consumers are much more realistic about the issues of food safety. Most of them feel that the food manufactures can do a great better jobs where safety is concerned. Most consumers interviewed felt that there had been no improvement in food safety over the last two years or very little improvement in food safety. The UL study also found consumers are skeptical about how food manufacturers are doing, with a full 71 percent saying products are no better than five years ago. Consumers expressed the least satisfaction with processed foods.


UL Report "Navigating the Product Mindset."

UL's Food Safety Services

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Comments (10)

So why do people continue to buy processed food? I think they are less concerned, and more lazy when it gets right down to it.

Interesting and informative discussion. thanks

There are always food recalls. It's just scary. Great article. Voted.

Interesting, Jerry. Didn't know they were still around. I remember their round yellow labels on older electrical things like lamps and extension cords, but don't recall seeing them recently. Voted!

98%? That is definitely a false sense of reality for them.

excellent Jerry thanks

Ranked #12 in Food Safety

Another great informative share Jerry, thanks.

My mother was executive secretary to UL CEO in N.Y. for decades.this is a great organization.Well detailed article.thank you.

Ranked #4 in Food Safety

Given all the food recalls, I can't believe that people in the food industry feel that comfortable.

Food safety should always be high priority, thanks for bringing attention to this topic