There's a quick tip from Vinu Thomas on his blog for anyone having issues with UTF-8 data in a MySQL database (as accessed by PHP).
Most of us have had problems with UTF-8 problems in PHP and MySQL. Here's how to modify your database and table to be UTF-8 compliant. Most of the time we do set the character set to utf8 but forget to set the collation set to utf8.
He includes both SQL statements you'll need to make the transition - two ALTER statements that update the properties of a database and change the encoding on a specific table to UTF-8 compatibility.