Consumers Fear That Commercial Farms Put Profit Ahead of Principle

When more than 2,000 consumers ranked eight priorities for the meat industry, their responses were far different than those of industry workers

PorkRoastSlice-SS-Post.jpg

Editor's Note: A misreading of the report led us to believe that the Center for Food Integrity polled consumers and those working in the meat industry separately. What the survey shows, generally, is that 2,000 polled consumers believe commercial farmers are more concerned with profitability than consumers believe farmers should be. We regret the error.

According to MeatingPlace, the Center for Food Integrity asked more than 2,000 respondents to rank a field of eight possible priorities for the meat industry. The rankings of meat industry respondents were quite different from those of consumers.

Meat industry respondents ranked profitability as number two and humane treatment of farm animals as number eight.

In contrast, consumer respondents ranked profitability way down the list as number seven but humane treatment of farm animals as number four.

These disconnects, say industry observers, are serious and "feed an overall distrust of commercial ag operations." The survey report explains:

There is an inverse relationship between the perception of shared values and priorities for commercial farms. Consumers fear that commercial farms will put profit ahead of principle and therefore cut corners when it comes to other priority issues. As farms continue to change in size and scale we have to overcome that bias by effectively demonstrating our commitment to the values and priorities of consumers.

Maybe the message is getting out there?

Image: margouillat photo/Shutterstock.

TEMPLATEFoodPolitics02.jpg

This post also appears on Food Politics, an Atlantic partner site.

Presented by

Marion Nestle is a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Pet Food Politics. More

Nestle also holds appointments as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (revised edition, 2007), Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2003), and What to Eat (2006). Her most recent book is Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat. She writes the Food Matters column for The San Francisco Chronicle and blogs almost daily at Food Politics.

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Health

From This Author

Just In