Thursday, December 10, 2009

Washington, DC—Food Safety

A new poll conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center reveals that
Americans expect more from the government when it comes to monitoring the country’s
food supply.
While a majority of people polled about food safety and labeling regard the overall food
supply as safe, almost half said their confidence in the safety of the nation’s food supply
had decreased. Respondents are concerned with bacteria or chemicals in food and the
safety of imported food, and they expect the Food and Drug Administration to conduct
reviews of domestic and foreign food processing plants at least once a month.
“The Consumer Reports poll shows that Americans overwhelmingly expect the
government to do much more to protect the public from contaminated food,” said Urvashi
Rangan, Ph.D., senior scientist and policy analyst at Consumers Union. “Consumers
want to know that the food they buy meets the standards they expect. Our poll shows that
right now, that is not the case.”
More than eight in ten consumers said that when food safety problems arise, the
government should disclose to the public the location of the retailers that sold the
potentially harmful food, including fish, produce and processed foods. More than 80
percent of consumers polled also said they want the government to be able to require a
recall and should be able to quickly and accurately trace food from production to sale.
Ninety-four percent of Americans want all specialty meat and fish stores to label their
products by country of origin. Ninety-five percent of consumers polled believe that
processed or packaged food should require country of origin labeling and that country of
origin information for products should always be available at point of purchase.
Regulations require that large supermarkets, but not independent markets, label produce,
meat and seafood products with their country of origin.
Respondents also said they want a more meaningful label for organic fish. Ninety-three
percent polled said that fish labeled as organic should be produced by 100 percent
organic feed. Ninety percent said that organic fish farms should be required to recover
waste and not pollute the environment and 57 percent are concerned about ocean
pollution caused by fish farms. More than four in ten respondents are concerned about
health problems associated with consuming wild fish.
Source: Consumer Poll: Americans Want the FDA to Do More
About Food Safety. November 13, 2008.

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