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U.S. Public Lacks Confidence in FDA: Poll
Date:4/30/2009

e food supply," added Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America's Health.

The public does seem to remember recent product recalls: 90 percent remember when peanut butter was pulled off the shelves; 68 percent remember last year's melamine-tainted dog/cat-food recall; and 63 percent remember the 2006 spinach scare, the survey found.

More than half (56 percent) of those surveyed feel positively about how the FDA handles food recalls, while 40 percent feel negatively. Confidence about drug recalls was less robust.

Reflecting these concerns, a majority of respondents (59 percent) said they feel that food safety should be the FDA's most important priority, followed by ensuring the safety and effectiveness of prescription drugs (37 percent). The safety of imported food came in third at 30 percent.

But respondents had little confidence in the FDA's ability to safeguard imported food. That's important, because "over 80 percent of our seafood is now imported, and a growing percentage of fruits and vegetables," Corbo said. "There is well-founded concern among consumers about the safety of imports."

Among the survey's other key findings:

  • In 2009, 47 percent of respondents felt negative and an equal number positive about how the FDA ensures the safety and effectiveness of new prescription drugs. In 2004, 56 percent were positive and 37 percent were negative. During the intervening years, the numbers have swung both ways, perhaps reflecting current drug crises in the news, Taylor said.
  • More individuals (53 percent) felt positive than negative (40 percent) about how the FDA handles drug recalls in 2009, versus an opposite trend in 2008: 39 percent positive and 53 percent negative.
  • Roughly the same percentage of people feel positive and negative about how the FDA monitors drugs after they are approved.
  • About one-third (35 percent) of respondents say the
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