Exploring Food Safety

New research shows consumers hold farmers and producers most responsible for ensuring the safety of their food but have only a moderate level of trust that they are doing so. The findings are part of a recently released study providing a current snapshot of consumer attitudes toward a number of key food system issues, including food safety, nutrition, environmental protection, and the humane treatment of animals.

The research was commissioned by the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) to better understand who consumers trust and where they place the most responsibility within each of these areas. Conducted annually, it will provide the food system with a benchmark of consumer concerns that it can use to develop and promote practices that result in greater consumer trust.

Not surprisingly, food safety remains a primary concern of most consumers, followed by nutrition, environmental protection, and humane treatment of animals (see Figure 1). While consumers place the highest level of responsibility for ensuring food safety with farmers and producers, they have only a moderate level of trust in farmers for ensuring the safety of their food, and even lower levels of trust in food companies, processors and, surprisingly, federal regulatory agencies.

Only 16% of consumers strongly believed that today’s food supply is safer than it was when they were growing up.

According to Andy Miller, Indiana agriculture director and CFI board member, the study will help the entire food system better understand what issues need to be addressed in order to maintain consumer trust of food produced in the U.S.

“Our goal is to implement programs and conduct dialogue with industry stakeholders so we can build trust in the food system,” Miller says. “We’ll use this study to benchmark our progress each year.”

Trust In Moderation

The study revealed the following attitudes toward trust and responsibilities among the remaining issue areas:

•  While consumers primarily held themselves responsible for ensuring good nutrition, they also held farmers and producers, food companies and processors, and federal regulatory agencies responsible. Consumers trust themselves most to ensure good nutrition from the food they eat, followed by doctors and dieticians, growers and producers, grocery stores, and restaurants. Twenty-eight percent of consumers strongly feel there is more nutritious food available today than when they were growing up.

•  Consumers hold themselves, federal regulatory agencies, and growers and producers most responsible for ensuring environmental protection. However, they have only moderate levels of trust in any of these groups.

•  Consumers hold growers and producers primarily responsible for the humane treatment of farm animals, yet have only moderate trust in their ability to do a good job and act in a manner consistent with consumer values and ethics. Sixty-three percent of respondents strongly agreed that if farm animals were treated decently and humanely, they would have no problem consuming meat, milk, and eggs.

•  Consumers hold federal regulatory agencies, employees themselves, and food companies and processors responsible for ensuring worker care, yet they have only a moderate level of trust in these groups to accomplish the goals.

According to Terry Fleck, executive director of CFI, the organization will use these results to help the entire food system increase the trust and confidence of consumers.

“Our members represent each segment of the food chain, including growers and ranchers, processors, companies that deliver food products under local, regional, and global brand names, and government,” said Fleck. “This survey is a key part of our ability to promote dialogue, model best practices, address issues that are important to consumers, and serve as a resource for accurate, balanced information about the U.S. food system.”

More information about CFI and its consumer trust survey can be found at www.foodintegrity.org.

Leave a Reply

Stewardship Stories

ManagementLand O’Lakes Announces SUSTAIN Business Unit, Other Changes
July 20, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus Read More
Corn and ditch
ManagementStudy: Saturated Buffers Reduce Nitrates From Subsurface Field Drainage Systems
July 19, 2016
The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC), Agricultural Drainage Management Systems Task Force and Dr. Dan Jaynes with the National Laboratory Read More
StewardshipAg Organizations Partner To Host 4R Technology Field Day
July 12, 2016
The Ohio AgriBusiness Association (OABA) is partnering with The Fertilizer Institute, Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, Ohio Soybean Council, Environmental Read More
Crop InputsExperts Predict 2016 Lake Erie Harmful Algal Bloom ‘Less Severe’ (w/Gallery)
July 8, 2016
As sun-drenched media members and various other dignitaries crowded around the back deck of the docked Bio-Lab – bobbing gently Read More
Trending Articles
Heritage Cooperative
Retail FacilitiesKahler Automation Designs State-Of-The-Art Facility For Heritage Cooperative
July 4, 2016
Heritage Cooperative in Marysville, OH, needed an efficient liquid, dry and grain facility to serve the many needs of their Read More
The Andersons Waterloo
ManagementFirst Indiana Facility Certified Under 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program
June 27, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s Waterloo, IN, facility has been added to its Read More
Food IT
Industry NewsCalifornia Event Will Mix Ag And Tech Professionals To Explore IT Solutions
June 20, 2016
Silicon Valley is hot on agriculture, and an upcoming event in California will bring together the food and tech industries Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Eric SfiligojWhat’s Next For Monsanto?
May 31, 2016
For the folks at Monsanto’s headquarters in St. Louis, MO, it has been an eventful few weeks. Back on May Read More
Soybean Plant closeup
Industry NewsMonsanto Rejects Bayer Bid; Open To More Talks
May 25, 2016
Monsanto Co, the world’s largest seed company, turned down Bayer AG’s $62 billion acquisition bid as “incomplete and financially inadequate” Read More
Eric SfiligojPity The Monsanto Haters
May 23, 2016
An old saying goes thus: “Be careful what you wish for. You just might get it.” Given current events, there Read More
Latest News
Soil Young Corn
Crop InputsSmithsonian: 5 Things to Know About New GMO Labeling Bi…
July 27, 2016
On July 14, the House of Representatives passed a bill requiring large food companies to label products containing genetically modified Read More
Palmer pigweed in soybean stubble
HerbicidesSpecial Issue Of Weed Science Explores Human Aspects Of…
July 27, 2016
Weeds that evolve resistance to herbicides are a serious threat to global agricultural production. In this Special Issue of Weed Science, Read More
CHS Primeland
CropLife 100CHS Businesses In Washington, Idaho Combining For Great…
July 27, 2016
As full-service ag retailers, CHS Primeland and CHS Farmers Co-op collectively serve farmers and other customers in 15 counties in Read More
Storage Tanks at Nachurs
Crop InputsNACHURS Joins Field to Market
July 27, 2016
NACHURS announced today that it has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a leading multi-stakeholder initiative working Read More
Illinois Researchers
FertilizerMeasure Of Age In Soil Nitrogen Could Help Precision Ag…
July 26, 2016
What’s good for crops is not always good for the environment. Nitrogen, a key nutrient for plants, can cause problems Read More
Kochia
Crop InputsNufarm Launches New Herbicide for Resistant Kochia
July 25, 2016
Nufarm introduces Scorch herbicide for U.S. farmers and ranchers combating a broad range of troublesome broadleaf weeds. A unique premix Read More
ManagementNew Rabobank Report Calls for Farmer ROI Focus
July 25, 2016
As U.S. row crop farmers brace themselves for a third year of negative margins, Rabobank believes farmers must lower the Read More
Syngenta Sign
Crop InputsBloomberg: Syngenta-Chem China Deal on Track for Regula…
July 25, 2016
Syngenta AG, which has agreed to be taken over by China National Chemical Corp. for $43 billion, said talks with Read More
ManagementGROWMARK Meeting Visit, Company Takeover Updates, and R…
July 22, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discuss their recent speaking engagement at GROWMARK’s eastern event, crop protection company merger rumors, Read More
Crop InputsMonsanto: EU Approves Roundup Ready 2 Xtend Imports
July 22, 2016
Monsanto Co. announced today that the European Commission has granted import approval for Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybeans. This milestone Read More
Syngenta headquarters in Basel, Switzerland
Crop InputsSyngenta Announces Alfalfa Seed Split Off
July 22, 2016
On September 1, 2016, Syngenta will transfer sales and distribution of alfalfa seed to the NEXGROW branded business that is Read More
Dow DuPont
Crop InputsDuPont, Dow Shareholders Approve Merger
July 21, 2016
DuPont and The Dow Chemical Company announced that, at their respective special meetings of stockholders held today, stockholders of both Read More
ManagementLand O’Lakes Announces SUSTAIN Business Unit, Oth…
July 20, 2016
Land O’Lakes, Inc. today announced the formal organization of a new business unit, SUSTAIN, and its leadership. SUSTAIN will focus Read More
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Shareholder Proposes Monsanto ‘Host…
July 20, 2016
One of Bayer AG’s top 20 shareholders said Wednesday it may make sense for the life-science company to launch an Read More
Young Corn Closeup
Industry NewsNew Leaf Symbiotics Snags Former Monsanto Microbials Le…
July 20, 2016
NewLeaf Symbiotics, announced today the appointment of Dr. Janne Kerovuo as Vice President for Research and Discovery.  Dr. Kerovuo comes Read More
Corn and ditch
ManagementStudy: Saturated Buffers Reduce Nitrates From Subsurfac…
July 19, 2016
The Agricultural Drainage Management Coalition (ADMC), Agricultural Drainage Management Systems Task Force and Dr. Dan Jaynes with the National Laboratory Read More
Case sprayer nozzle closeup
EquipmentAgronomists, CCAs, Custom Applicators Invited To FSR Ag…
July 19, 2016
Agronomists, Certified Crop Advisers (CCA) and custom applicators can stay current on agronomy issues on the grounds of the Farm Read More
Soybean Field
LegislationOhio Soybean Association Names Brian Hill Legislator Of…
July 19, 2016
The Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) has announced that State Representative Brian Hill (R-Zanesville) has been named one of two Legislators of Read More