People would pay more for safe food

PHILADELPHIA, May 22 (UPI) — Challenging conventional wisdom that most people want smaller government and less expensive food, a U.S. survey indicates most would pay more for safer food.

The Pew Charitable Trusts commissioned a poll by Hart Research and American Viewpoint that indicates 66 percent support additional funding for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to carry out new responsibilities related to food safety.

Seventy-four percent feel it is worth a 1 percent to 3 percent increase in the cost of food to pay for new safety measures in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law this year. In addition, 70 percent of those surveyed favor food companies paying an average annual fee of $1,000 to help cover the cost of new FDA food safety activities.

Twenty-five percent of U.S. adults say they worry a great deal about food being contaminated with bacteria that makes it unsafe to eat, while 85 percent say the government should be responsible for ensuring that food is safe to eat and 71 percent of voters say the FDA plays a very important or essential role in protecting Americans’ health and safety.

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, strengthening the oversight authorities of the FDA, by improving safety standards for food facilities and fresh produce, strengthens inspection requirements, boosts powers to help limit the dangers of food imports and provides the FDA with the power to issue a mandatory recall of contaminated food, among other authorities.

Before the new law, the FDA examined about 1 percent of food imports and each facility received a visit from an FDA inspector on average once a decade, Pew officials say.

The survey, conducted April 28 to May 4, surveyed 1,015 likely voters on land-line phones and cellphones. The survey has a margin of error 3.1 percentage points.

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