A new study published in the October issue of the journal Food Policy has found that most Americans want more regulation of food safety and quality. The article, titled “The Political Ideology of Food” states that most Americans are “food statists” who want more government action in the area of food safety.
More liberal respondents wanted more government involvement in food than conservative respondents. But the relationship to political ideology was “far from determinative, suggesting food ideology represents a unique construct in its own right,” according to the study. Unfortunately, the study’s authors say that public opinion on food policy doesn’t have much bearing on actual policy that becomes law.
In contrast, citizens in the United Kingdom say that food safety is less of a concern now than it was ten years ago, according to a biannual survey conducted by the Foods Standard Agency. In March 2001, 61% of UK residents were concerned about foodborne illness. Now, that number is only 32%. BSE, popularly known as Mad Cow Disease, is only a concern for 9% of UK residents under the age of 25.
The Food Hygiene Rating Scheme restaurant scores posted on establishment doors in the UK has been seen by only 20% of respondents. And only 24% of UK citizens had heard about the new system.