With food safety regulatory change on the horizon for U.S. producers, Rabobank recently found that approximately 40 percent of farmers have begun to alter their farming practices and methods.
According to a new Rabobank Farm & Ranch Survey, of those making changes, 64 percent are keeping better records, which is the first step toward better food safety.
“U.S. 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, U.S. 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 percent) or networking and meeting with other farmers (26 percent). Additionally, farmers are beginning to make changes to facilities (23 percent) and to processes (21 percent).
“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 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 U.S. producers.”