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

StewardshipA Multi-Layered Approach To Water Quality
October 6, 2014
Illinois event highlights research and technology designed to better monitor and improve water quality — and the benefits of cooperative, coordinated effort. Read More
StewardshipMichigan Agriculture Leaders On Toledo Water Ban: We Want To Be Part Of The Conversation
August 8, 2014
Leaders of Michigan agricultural organizations said Thursday that the government should not have a “knee-jerk reaction” based on last weekend’s water ban in Toledo due to fertilizer run-off in Lake Erie. Read More
StewardshipBayer Lands Honor For Bee Care Center, Other Initiatives
June 3, 2014
Bayer Corp. has been named a 2014 Responsible Care Company of the Year by the American Chemistry Council, thanks in large part to its Drive Toward Zero initiative and North American Bayer Bee Care Center. Read More
StewardshipStrip-Tillage: A Sustainable Effort
March 3, 2014
As sustainable agriculture grows in popularity, interest in custom strip-tillage is growing. Read More

Trending Articles

HerbicidesAdjusting To The New Reality Of Weed Control
November 4, 2014
Even with new cropping systems being readied for market introductions, weed control will remain a challenge for many. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More

Latest News

soybean field
Crop InputsABM Patents Microbial R&D Technique
November 25, 2014
Focused Microbial Diversity (FMD) is a newly patented technique employed by Advanced Biological Marketing (ABM) to research and develop microbials that will be used in ABM products Read More
Crop InputsStorage Options Help Grain Growers Go To Market
November 24, 2014
While on-farm storage in a traditional upright storage bin is one possibility for storing grain, it may not be for everyone. Read More
Eric SfiligojGiving Thanks For Another Great Year
November 24, 2014
As Thanksgiving Day 2014 arrives, agriculture has plenty to be thankful for. Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Cost-Cutting Program To Affect 1,800 Jobs
November 24, 2014
The company's Accelerating Operational Leverage program will result in job reductions and relocations totaling around 1,800 across the company, the majority of which will occur in 2015. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Announces Operator Of The Year Finalists
November 20, 2014
Four custom applicators have been selected by AGCO Application Equipment as finalists for 2014 Operator of the Year, an honor that recognizes them as being among the top professionals in their industry throughout North America. Read More
MicronutrientsH.J. Baker Expands Tiger-Sul Business
November 20, 2014
H.J. Baker has created and filled two strategic positions in business development and sales within its Crop Performance Division. Read More
soybean field
FertilizerGeneral Mills Honors United Suppliers For Nitrogen Opti…
November 19, 2014
United Suppliers winning proposal detailed SUSTAIN, a consulting network that provides customized products and services for farmers using a needs-based system approach. Read More
EmployeesOhio AgriBusiness Association Awards $25,000 In Scholar…
November 19, 2014
Each year, the Ohio AgriBusiness Association Educational Trust scholarship program awards scholarship dollars to students enrolled in an agriculture-related field attending several state colleges. Read More
ManagementServi-Tech Names New CEO
November 17, 2014
Servi-Tech has named Greg Ruehle its new president and CEO. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Ag Acquires Colorado Aerial Application Outlet
November 17, 2014
Ft. Lupton, CO-based Reck Aviation — a full-service chemical application company providing aerial crop applications of fertilizers and crop protection products — will operate as part of Pinnacle's AgOne Application Services brand. Read More
Eric SfiligojMcDonald’s Message: Biotech Crops Scarier Than Cancer
November 17, 2014
Despite their potential health benefits, one of the world’s largest potato users will pass on a new biotech offering. Read More
MicronutrientsWinField Releases 2014 NutriSolutions Results
November 14, 2014
A number of significant regional and national crop deficiency trends emerged from the 2014 WinField NutriSolutions tissue sampling program. Read More
FertilizerH.J. Baker Opens Chinese Production Lines
November 14, 2014
The occasion was the official launch of the Tiger-Sul sulphur Bentonite production line of two much anticipated fertilizer products in China, T90CR sulphur fertilizer and TZinc micronutrient enhanced sulphur fertilizer. Read More
ManagementOhio Certified Crop Adviser Program Accepting Nominatio…
November 14, 2014
The award recognizes an individual who delivers exceptional customer service for farmer clients in nutrient management, soil and water management, integrated pest management and crop production in Ohio. Read More
HerbicidesSyngenta Announces Acuron Trial Plot Results
November 14, 2014
Acuron was tested at 167 trial locations across 35 states. Trials included 95 Syngenta locations, 54 university locations and 18 distributor locations. Read More
Crop InputsVerdesian Expands Sales Force
November 13, 2014
The new sales representatives will work with growers, retail partners and distributors to oversee technical training and product education. Read More
EquipmentAGCO Raises $100K For Wounded Warrior Project
November 13, 2014
AGCO Corp. partnered with local AGCO dealers across the U.S. and Canada to raise nearly $100,000 in support of wounded service veterans. Read More
HerbicidesDow AgroSciences Announces Launch Of Enlist Duo Herbici…
November 12, 2014
It will be launched in conjunction with a stewarded introduction of Enlist corn, and seed production of Enlist soybeans in 2015. Read More