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CANADA - Greater transparency within the food production system will go a long way toward restoring and maintaining the trust of consumers, according to the CEO of the Center for Food Integrity, writes Bruce Cochrane.
"Restoring and maintaining trust of pork consumers" will be among the topics discussed as part of the 2015 Banff Pork Seminar slated for 20 to 22 January.
Charlie Arnot, the CEO of the Center for Food Integrity, (pictured) a not-for profit organisation established to build consumer trust and confidence in today's food system, observes over the last 40 years as we've seen additional consolidation, integration and application of technology in agriculture consumers have felt a bit more alienated from farming and food production than they have historically.
Charlie Arnot-Center for Food Integrity
Most consumers are wanting to know, is the food safe, is it relatively affordable?
That tends to be where that level of information request ends for most consumers, but you do have others that have a heightened level of interest in a variety of different elements, again from whether or not we're using animal health products that are ultimately safe for consumers, the impact of today's production systems on animal welfare.
For those consumers, what they're really looking for is for the food system to be much more transparent.
We've heard that consistently and our research has shown that increasing the transparency of today's food system can go a long way to increasing trust, especially with those consumers who are most sceptical.
Our research clearly shows that those consumers who are most sceptical have a great deal of increased trust if we become more transparent, if we're willing to share information, if we're willing to be open about how we operate and to engage transparently in a conversation about today's production practices as opposed to simply sharing facts and information.
Mr Arnot says science and facts tell us whether we can do something, but society tells us whether we should.
He says very few people question whether we can, the questions are about whether or not we should be doing what we're doing and that is the conversation we have to improve upon if we want to be successful in building trust in today's pork production.
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