Interesting trends emerge from an independent survey commissioned by Deloitte. The Consumer Food and Product Insights Survey asserts that Americans are “weaning themselves away from the traditional troika of manufacturers, government, and retailers and ramping up advocacy that speaks on a more personal level.” The survey cites consumer attitudes towards the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s new online database as eveidence with 9 out of 10 consumers indicating they thought the database was important in helping them make future purchasing decisions.
The Food Safety Modernization Act requires a similar database, which was recently launched. Despite this FSMA remains relatively unknown according to the survey. The survey found only about 68% of the survey takers were not familiar with FSMA, which is surprising given that FSMA is the first major overhaul of the nation’s food safety system in 70years. How effective is FSMA if consumers don’t know about it? The new law is in its infancy, with many of its provisions not taking effect for another 10 or more months. This perhaps explains why the new law has not trickled down to the consumer level. An important emphasis in FSMA is placed on prevention. In order to prevent outbreaks key aspects of FSMA must be known by consumers. Like the CPSC, food safety begins with awareness of recalls. The FDA needs to push its new database to match the 90% awareness the CPSC has reached. Until then FSMA remains a significant but likely underutilized safety mechanism.
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