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Farmers Change Practices Ahead of Food Safety Laws

by 5m Editor
19 October 2009, at 9:20am

US - With food safety regulatory change on the horizon for US producers, Rabobank has found that approximately 40 per cent of farmers have begun to alter their farming practices and methods.

According to a new Rabobank Farm & Ranch Survey, of those making changes, 64 per cent are keeping better records, which is the first step toward better food safety.

“US producers are aware that food safety issues are on the Obama administration’s agenda,” said Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory (FAR) vice president, Marieke de Rijke, who studies food safety issues. “They understand good record keeping will help keep them a step ahead of possible changes.”

In March, President Obama created the Food Safety Working Group to upgrade food safety laws, which govern the supply chain from gate to plate. With this in mind, US producers are beginning to take steps before new laws are in place.

After keeping better records, other changes included researching information about better food safety practices by subscribing to topical publications (32 per cent) or networking and meeting with other farmers (26 per cent). Additionally, farmers are beginning to make changes to facilities (23 per cent) and to processes (21 per cent).

“Food safety outbreaks are a real threat to the well-being of the public. In addition they negatively impact the involved sector – in terms of image and sales,” said Ms de Rijke. “Our survey shows that farmers and ranchers understand that information is a critical step to keeping consumers safe, while ensuring future business for US producers.”

Methodology

The study was conducted to gauge farmers’ confidence among target farming regions in the United States. An independent survey company conducted 455 computer-assisted telephone interviews in the first half of August 2009. Farmers who own or operated a farm grossing $250,000 or more in one of three US census regions – the Midwest, Southern and Western United States – were the focus of the study.

Further Reading

- You can view the Rabobank Farm & Ranch Survey by clicking here.