American Confidence in Food Safety Sinks

New study reveals just how low consumer trust has fallen.
(Photo: Ann Cutting/Getty Images)
Nov 2, 2011
Megan Bedard is a sucker for sustainable agriculture and a good farmers market, she likes writing about food almost as much as eating it.

In the wake of a disasterous run of foodborne illnesses, American trust in our food supply has dropped four percent, according to a new study by the Center for Food Integrity and Iowa State University. The last reported incidence of faltering consumer confidence occurred in 2008, when an undercover video depicting animal abuse at a meatpacking plant in California upset the public and prompted the largest meat recall to date, reports Food Safety News.

According to the study, conducted by the Center for Food Integrity and Iowa State University, only 35 percent of Americans expressed strong agreement with the statement "I am confident in the safety of the food I eat" in 2011. That's a drop of four percent from the response to the same statement in 2010. (A similar drop was demonstrated in response to the statement: "I have access to all of the information I want about where my food comes from, how it is produced and its safety.")

Shaky consumer confidence isn't surprising when you consider the year in food news: More than 130,000 pounds of beef were recalled because of an E. coli scare in September, and shortly therafter, the Centers for Disease Control called the deadly listeria outbreak from Colorado-raised canteloupe the worst foodborne illness outbreak in a decade.

With confidence sinking again, "this should be of concern for the food system," CFI stated in its report. But will anyone act?

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