Americans Concerned About Safety of Goods From Developing World
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Americans Concerned About Safety of Goods From Developing World

According to a new poll, nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults lack confidence in the safety of a variety of products produced in developing nations, including over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements.

Paul Holmes

According to a new poll, nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults lack confidence in the safety of a variety of products produced in developing nations, including over-the-counter medications, prescription drugs, herbal remedies and nutritional supplements, and packaged or prepared foods. Eight in ten adults are concerned about counterfeit products that claim to be produced or manufactured in the U.S.

The survey of 2,071 U.S. adults, ages 18 and older, was conducted by Harris Interactive in June for The Wall Street Journal Online’s Health Industry Edition.

Three in four adults believe measures can be taken to ensure the safety of products produced or manufactured for the export market.They are most likely to prefer banning products that have been proven to be unsafe, or instituting bigger fines or stiffer penalties to companies that produce unsafe products (22 percent and 16 percent, respectively). Far fewer believe that the best way of ensuring product safety is to rely on more government inspections of agricultural or manufacturing sites or better company oversight of their own facilities (7 percent for each).

When asked specifically about China’s announcement that it will beef up its oversight activities in the wake of multiple product safety problems, only three in ten U.S. adults said they are confident that such measures will improve the safety of products produced or manufactured in China.

Many U.S. consumers appear to be considering country of origin when making purchasing decisions, on at least some occasions. Six in ten adults say they always check to see where a product is produced or manufactured (29 percent) or do so when making purchases they believe might directly impact their family’s health and safety (32 percent).

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