A food safety survey, that’s what. The Food Safety Consortium announced today the results from a recent survey it mailed to 2,000 people — 1,000 in each city. About 30 percent responded with a higher response rate coming from Wichita, according to the federally funded group.
The FSC, which combines the research of ag economists from Kansas State, Arkansas and Iowa State universities, learned from the survey that if a case of avian flu is discovered in a U.S. poultry flock, it’s likely that poultry consumption would decline.
No surprise there. But the Wichitans surveyed indicated they weren’t going to bail on their chicken at the rate of those from those L.A. Seventy percent of the Wichitans said their consumption would NOT change while the Los Angeles response sat on the fence at 50 percent, said Sean Fox, a KSU ag economics professor who supervised the research. Fourteen percent of Los Angeles respondents said they would stop consuming poultry entirely while only 7 percent of the Wichitans said they would.
Fox said the survey was designed to quantify the potential impact on the poultry impact on the poultry industry in case of a domestic avian flu outbreak. No such outbreaks have occurred in this country, but a 2003 outbreak in Southeast Asia spread to 41 other country over the next four years.
“We figured the risk to commercial poultry flocks in the U.S. was very low,” Fox, “but there were indications that bird flu was being carried by migratory birds and chances of it appearing in a wild bird were reasonably high,” Fox said.
Fox said the different reactions between Wichita and L.A. could probably be explained by Kansans’ greater familiarity with ag issues.
On another not-so-surprising front, the survey showed Wichita respondents ate more beef than their L.A. counterparts. Both cities reported the same level of chicken consumption.