1991. It operates in 10 states and is designed to capture information on actual residues in the food supply as close as possible to when food is actually eaten. The Total Diet Study began in 1961. It obtains samples of food purchased by FDA personnel in selected cities, which are then analyzed by FDA laboratories; the results are used to estimate exposures by weighting to food consumption patterns from the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals (the CSFII food consumption data are now part of NHANES—see Chapter 2).

The PDP and the Total Diet Study represent important sources of information about the incidence of residues in the food supply over time. They have been used, for example, to assess actual risks as a way of better understanding outcomes of pesticide regulation (Day et al., 1995; Kuchler et al., 1997).

Evaluating Consumer Education

One more point on food safety information is worth noting. Data on consumer food safety knowledge and practice would be crucial for developing any consumer education or labeling efforts aimed at safety. Questions in these areas could be part of the addition of a health knowledge component to the NHANES that ERS is developing and that we support (see Chapters 2 and 5). They could also be added to the FoodNet population survey component. Conversely, more detailed household characteristics, as well as some information on food consumption, could be useful to add to the FDA Food Safety and Health and Diet Surveys, perhaps asking questions of subsamples to reduce burden on respondents.

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