The Consumer Studies Branch evaluates how consumers and other stakeholders perceive, understand, and react to CFSAN information, education, policies and regulatory actions. Social and behavioral science research can help shape program priorities, support policy and rulemaking and support enforcement and litigation. Information gained from this research is also used to develop nutrition and food-safety related communication and education materials intended to help consumers make informed decisions about the food they eat.
Researchers study a broad range of topics relevant to the FDA mission, including food safety, nutrition, food labeling, food additives, food recalls, biotechnology, and dietary supplements.
CFSAN’s social and behavioral scientists have graduate degrees in psychology, sociology, agricultural economics, nutritional sciences, public health, and public policy.
The multidisciplinary team uses a variety of social and behavioral data collection and research methods, including national probability surveys, experimental studies, and qualitative methods such as focus groups, and in-depth interviews. These methods help FDA scientists, regulators, and managers understand the public’s perspective of our regulatory work.
Food Safety and Nutrition Survey
The Food Safety and Nutrition Survey (FSANS) is designed to assess consumers’ awareness, knowledge, understanding and reported behaviors relating to a variety of food safety and nutrition related topics. The survey combines previous topics from the Food Safety Survey and Health and Diet Survey. The findings are designed to help the FDA make better informed regulatory, policy, education and other risk-management decisions to promote and protect public health.
Food Safety Surveys
The Food Safety Survey (FSS) is a nationally representative survey of consumers’ self-reported behaviors, knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about food safety. The questionnaires are designed to measure trends in consumer food safety practices, such as hand and cutting board washing; preparing and consuming risky foods; and using food thermometers. Survey results help inform FDA’s efforts aimed at improving consumer food safety behaviors.
Health and Diet Surveys
The Health and Diet Survey (HDS) is a nationally representative survey of consumers' self-reported awareness, attitudes and practices related to health and diet issues. The questionnaires are designed to measure trends in consumer diet and health practices, such as awareness of the relationship between diet and disease; dietary management practices; and use of the nutrition facts label. Survey results help inform FDA's efforts aimed at improving consumer diet and nutrition-related knowledge and behaviors.
- 2014 Health and Diet Survey: Topline Frequency Report
- 2008 Health and Diet Survey: Topline Frequency Report
Other Surveys and Research
- Consumer Research on Foodborne Illness
- Consumer Research on Infant Formula and Infant Feeding
- Consumer Research on Labeling, Nutrition, Diet, and Health
- Overview and Methodology of FDA Food Label and Package Survey (FLAPS), 2006-2007
- Overview and Methodology of FDA Food Label and Package Survey (FLAPS), 2000-2001
- Keystone Forum Documents on Away-From-Home Foods
- Calories Count - FDA Obesity Working Group Report and Related Information