Most Voters in Iowas New Third District Believe US Government Should Prioritize Food Safety

Most Voters in Iowa's New Third District Believe U.S. Government Should Prioritize Food Safety

Most likely voters in Iowa's new third congressional district believe that the federal government should continue to increase funding for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to carry out its food safety responsibilities, according to a Pew Health Group-commissioned poll by the bipartisan team of Hart Research Associates and the Tarrance Group.

After hearing that in the past two years the FDA has received $92 million for landmark food safety responsibilities — and that this amounts to five percent of the FDA’s food safety budge — 73 percent of likely voters say they favor having a similar funding increase for 2013. Furthermore, across the political spectrum most likely voters support additional food safety funding — 90 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of Republicans, and 72 percent of independents.

In addition, a large proportion of likely voters — 85 percent — support collecting fees from importers (with some exemptions for small businesses) to fund the FDA’s oversight of food imports. This position is also held across the political spectrum — 89 percent of Democrats, 81 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of independents favor these fees.

Even among those who feel government currently does too many things, many favor additional FDA funding (60 percent) and believe that food safety is government's responsibility (72 percent). Overall, 83 percent of likely voters believe government should be responsible for ensuring that food is safe to eat.

The vast majority also supports specific FDA activities to strengthen food safety:

  • Ninety-four percent favor requiring food importers to certify that the food they are importing is subject to safety standards that are as good as those in the United States.
  • Ninety-two percent favor requiring growers of fresh fruits and vegetables to meet nationwide safety standards.
  • Ninety-two percent favor FDA enforcement of new requirements that food companies identify possible points of contamination, establish measures to prevent contamination and monitor those measures to make sure they are working.

These findings are derived from a landline and cell phone survey of 404 likely November 2012 voters conducted from August 11 to 13, 2012, by Hart Research Associates (D) and The Tarrance Group (R) on behalf of the Pew Health Groups. The results of the poll are statistically representative of the opinions of likely voters in the newly apportioned Iowa 3rd Congressional District, and carry a margin of error of ±4.9 percentage points for the full sample, and higher margins of error for subgroups of the sample.