How safe is the food supply?

A little “off topic” of my usual subject of general merchandising…but today’s Retail Wire invites panelists to discuss a new IBM survey. It finds that American consumers are more distrustful than ever of food supply safety. This should not come as a big surprise:

The results of the survey aren’t surprising; consumers are understandably more concerned than ever about the safety of the food supply. Whether through suppliers’ negligence or poor oversight by regulatory agencies, there have been far too many incidences of safety issues in the past few years. When staples of the American diet like peanut butter and tomatoes are subject to this kind of scrutiny, the public reaction can be exptected.

I don’t have a proposed solution, but clearly the food supply and agricultural industries have a challenge to rebuild consumers’ confidence. And there are too many “misses” on the part of the FDA and other government agencies. Food and grocery retailers and wholesalers are among the biggest losers in this environment — and the supply base tends to be highly fragmented — so it will take some industry collaboration and push to rebuild the faith of Americans in their own food supply.

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