At the start of the new administration, 66 percent of Americans say they do not trust the government to protect consumer interests and rights, according to the 2017 Consumer Voices Survey from Consumer Reports. The survey uncovered key consumer issues, including healthcare, higher education, privacy, and yes, food safety. The survey found that six out of 10 Americans are either slightly (30 percent) or not at all confident (30 percent) that the country’s food supply is safe, free of contamination, and produced without unnecessary antibiotics.
Explore this issueFebruary/March 2017
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These findings preceded President Donald Trump’s recent signing of an executive order that is being described as “two out, one in,” meaning that for each new federal regulation, two existing rules are to be cut. The executive order is in keeping with one of Trump’s campaign promises of rolling back federal regulations to control regulatory costs and benefit large and small businesses.
But how will this impact Americans’ already shaky view of the government’s capability to protect them from the dangers of foodborne diseases?
As reported by Consumerist “…not all regulations are reflexively opposed by the businesses affected by them,” says Michael F. Jacobson, executive director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Certainly in the food safety world, responsible business leaders supported the Food Safety Modernization Act, which required the writing of new regulations that keep produce, packaged foods, and imports safe.”
Indeed, many are left wondering if Trump is too rash when it comes to regulations designed to protect consumers, such as rules in the food industry. A federal hiring freeze imposed on the USDA isn’t helping matters as this will undoubtedly delay FSIS lab tests. As a result, food contaminants may not be discovered in time, putting consumers’ health at risk.
The Consumer Voices Survey from Consumer Reports sought to benchmark whether Americans are confident that the government is looking out for consumer interests. According to the organization, regardless of their political leanings, all consumers are wary about the future of specific consumer protections and rights.
From The Editor