In our September food demand survey, FooDS, we added one question to see if people had heard or learned about the cattle feed additive Zilmax. If you happened to miss the story, a couple of weeks ago, Tyson Foods announced it would stop buying cattle fed Zilmax, a popular feed additive (see here for one of 100s of stories on the issue) due to possible concerns over lameness issues in cattle.
Here is the question we asked over 1,000 US consumers, and the response categories
There have been several stories in the news in the past month about a livestock feed additive called Zilmax. Which of the following statements about Zilmax is true? (Check all the apply.)
(1) Zilmax is a growth hormone (akin to Estrogen) used to make cattle grow faster.
(2) Zilmax is an antibiotic (akin to Penicillin) used to ensure cattle are healthy and grow quickly.
(3) Zilmax is a beta-agonist (akin to adrenaline) used to make cattle grow faster.
(4) Zilmax is in the news because of food safety concerns.
(5) Zilmax is in the news because of animal health concerns.
(6) Zilmax is in the news because of its effects on international trade.
(7) Zilmax is in the news because it is a promising new product.
(8) I have never heard of Zilmax.
The order of the response categories varied randomly across participants. Respondents could check more than one option, so long as they did not check "I have never heard of Zilmax."
Over 80% of participants stated they “have never heard of Zilmax”. Of those who had heard of Zilmax, the majority had mis-perceptions. Over all respondents, 6.79% said it was a growth hormone and 6.37% said it was in the news due to food safety concerns.
Only 3.23% correctly identified Zilmax as a Beta-agonist, and only 4.99% correctly identified recent news as relating to animal health.