Public trust in scientists concerning the health and safety of food has fallen

Date: 10.11.2022Source: Michigan State University

Public trust in scientists concerning the health and safety of food has fallen dramatically over the past four years, according to new results from the Michigan State University Food Literacy and Engagement Poll.

The bi-annual survey, which sampled 2,111 Americans in October 2022, reports that less than half (43%) of consumers currently say they trust academic scientists on food safety information, down from 52% in 2018. Thirty-two percent trust government scientists, down from 45% in the same period. Meanwhile, trust in industry scientists rose slightly from 30% to 34% over the last four years, according to the latest survey results.

“Dwindling trust in scientific expertise is concerning because the food system is so closely tied to our well-being,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, co-director of the poll. “It’s possible that the significant decline we observed in public trust may be a casualty of the pandemic, as well as widely circulated misinformation about health and diet online, especially targeted to women.”


Attitudes about scientific expertise related to food safety vary significantly among men and women. Forty-eight percent of men and thirty-eight percent of women trust academic scientists. Thirty-eight percent of men and 26% of women trust government scientists. And 39% of men and 30% of women trust industry scientists.

Meanwhile, the survey reveals Americans are united over food price anxiety. Eighty-five percent of all consumers currently describe food prices as high and 83% say they are very concerned about rising costs. Older Americans feel the most unease about food prices with 90% of seniors (55+ years) expressing high levels of concern compared to 64% of those under 30.

Roland Sossna / IDM

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