The Porter Novelli research firm conducted a telephone survey in April 2001 in which it found many Americans misunderstand the information they are receiving about Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD). And these misunderstandings are causing Americans to reduce the purchase of ground beef.

The survey found that 19 percent believe FMD and BSE are the same disease, 46 percent believe humans can contract FMD (such infections are extremely rare) and 14 percent have changed their meat purchasing habits after hearing about the cattle diseases.