Seventy-eight percent of consumers across the country do not trust information provided in food labels, according to a recent survey by the Japanese Consumers Cooperative Union.

The survey results reflect the recent sharp drop in consumer confidence in food labeling, particularly of meat and meat products, given the recent rash of false-labeling scandals in the industry.

Just 29 percent of 4,326 respondents said they trust or somewhat trust information contained in labels on meat and meat products, particularly with regard to the origin of the meat, the consumer group said.

The poll found that 78 percent do not trust food labeling compared with how they felt the previous year, while 4 percent said they have never trusted labels on food.

Ninety-two percent of co-op union members and other consumers who responded to the survey read the labels on food in stores before making a purchase.

Just 9 percent said they have complained about food labeling in the past, although 63 percent said they have considered making a complaint.

With regard to remedial measures, 58 percent said companies and government authorities should disclose information immediately if labeling violations are discovered, while 85 percent said they think the wording on labels should be standardized to make them easier for consumers to understand.

The survey was commissioned by the Cabinet Office and conducted via e-mail from May 1 to 21, the union said.

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