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

Growmark FS Outlet
StewardshipGROWMARK Recognizes Crop Specialists For Advocating Sustainable BMPs
May 31, 2016
Five crop specialists who have excelled in engaging farmers in sustainable best management practices are the recipients of the GROWMARK Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Announces Minnesota Water Quality Partnership
May 25, 2016
Governor Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski today announced a new public-private partnership to protect Read More
The Andersons Fostoria
StewardshipThe Andersons Facilities In Fostoria And Gibsonburg, OH Certified In 4R Nutrient Stewardship
May 11, 2016
The 4R Nutrient Stewardship Certification Program has announced that The Andersons, Inc.’s facilities in Fostoria and Gibsonburg, OH, have been added to its Read More
Patriot 4440 Sprayer close up
ManagementFlashing Back And Moving Forward On Spray Drift
May 3, 2016
The potential for pesticide drift remains an unavoidable feature of modern agriculture. Here, too, history repeats itself. “When Roundup debuted, Read More
Trending Articles
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
Monsanto Luling Plant
Crop InputsReport: Bayer Eyeing Monsanto For Possible Mega-Merger
May 16, 2016
Bayer AG is exploring a potential bid for U.S. competitor Monsanto Co. in a deal that would create the world’s Read More
Aerial Drone
Precision AgA Deeper Dive Into The Future Of Precision Ag
May 9, 2016
For about two decades now, through the good and the bad times, the ups and the downs inherent in agriculture, Read More
Palmer amaranth in soybean stubble
HerbicidesWSSA: Billions In Potential Economic Losses From Uncontrolled Weeds
May 4, 2016
What losses would corn and soybean growers experience if they were forced to eliminate herbicides and other control techniques from Read More
Eric SfiligojReasons For Hope In Commodity Prices
May 2, 2016
For many months now, the doomsayers have ruled the day in agriculture. Too much supply with too little demand would Read More
Latest News
FertilizerSimplot Introduces Fused-Safe Ammonium Sulfate Nitrate …
May 31, 2016
The J. R. Simplot Co.’s new FŪSN fertilizer is now commercially available to growers. Simplot uses advanced technology to fuse Read More
Growmark FS Outlet
StewardshipGROWMARK Recognizes Crop Specialists For Advocating Sus…
May 31, 2016
Five crop specialists who have excelled in engaging farmers in sustainable best management practices are the recipients of the GROWMARK Read More
Fertilizer Dealer Supply
UncategorizedFertilizer Dealer Supply Joins GVM
May 31, 2016
GVM has added Fertilizer Dealer Supply (FDS) to its growing network of Mako dealers. “I met Mark Anderson some 20 years Read More
Crop InputsRepar Registers New Biopesticide With U.S. EPA
May 31, 2016
Repar Corp., with headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, has developed Homobrassinolide 0.1%, a new generation plant growth promoter containing homobrassinolide, Read More
Industry NewsAligned Ag Distributors Names New VP Market Development
May 31, 2016
Aligned Ag Distributors LLC announced this morning the appointment of Tim Krueger to the position of VP Market Development. Krueger Read More
FertilizerCreating The Proper Environment For Yield Increases Wit…
May 31, 2016
Finely tuned nutrient management plans are helping farmers throughout the U.S. improve nutrient use efficiency, increase return on investment (ROI) Read More
Industry NewsJ.R. Simplot Names New Wholesale Agriculture Sales Vice…
May 31, 2016
Doug Stone will be joining the J. R. Simplot Co. as vice president, Wholesale Agricultural Sales within the Simplot AgriBusiness Read More
Adjuvants loading
AdjuvantsISAA 2016 Highlights Adjuvant Trends
May 31, 2016
Adjuvants can significantly improve the performance of crop protection products. Farmers and formulators enhance the efficacy of sprays by using 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
Craig Houin Sunrise Cooperative iPad
Precision AgState Of Precision Ag 2016: Gut Check Time For Value
May 31, 2016
There’s no denying that precision technologies and practices are more vibrant than ever. Equipment manufacturers have fine-tuned the hardware for Read More
ManagementWashington Visit and Bayer/Monsanto Deal Update
May 26, 2016
Editors Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj discusses a recent trip to DC and the latest news on the proposed pairing Read More
Fertilizer closeup in hand
Industry NewsVerdesian: Striking A Balance Between Yield & ROI
May 26, 2016
Finely tuned nutrient management plans are helping farmers throughout the U.S. improve nutrient use efficiency, increase return on investment (ROI) Read More
Crop InputsLand O’Lakes Announces Minnesota Water Quality Pa…
May 25, 2016
Governor Mark Dayton and Land O’Lakes, Inc. President and CEO Chris Policinski today announced a new public-private partnership to protect 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
Corn close up
Crop InputsArysta LifeScience Establishes Global Headquarters In R…
May 25, 2016
Arysta LifeScience has announced plans to relocate its global headquarters from West Palm Beach, FL, to Cary, NC, over the Read More
fertilizer blending and storage, Top 100
BlendersCHS Dakota Expansion Features AGCO’s GSI InterSys…
May 25, 2016
The continued growth of precision agriculture has increased farmer use of customized fertilizer blends best-suited for their soil conditions. Several Read More
ManagementAgriculture 3.5: A Bumpy Road Ahead
May 24, 2016
You may have read my article a few years ago on Agriculture 3.0, which is a term I coined to Read More
Topcon’s X30 display with CropSpec sensors
EquipmentGPS Autosteer Systems: Product Updates From Precision A…
May 24, 2016
Throughout 2015 GPS Steering solutions continued to evolve from what was once an after-market add on, to today’s cab where Read More