A recent nationwide survey measuring public concern over food safety and government’s involvement in food safety issues shows a vast majority want more from their elected leaders.


In fact, about 90% of likely voters favor the federal government adopting additional and more stringent food safety regulations, according to a poll commissioned to The Pew Charitable Trusts by the Hart Research and Public Opinion Strategies.


From June 29 to July 3 of this year, 1,005 likely voters were polled in a nationwide survey, according to a release from Pew, and the results showed a vast majority were greatly concerned about the safety of the nation’s food supply, especially in light of recent high-profile outbreaks of contaminated peppers, spinach, peanut butter and pistachios.


The poll showed that 64% believe that imported foods are often or sometimes unsafe, a significant jump from the 53% who expressed such concerns in a 2008 survey by the same pollsters. Overall, 58% are worried about bacterial contamination of the food supply, with about a third of those saying they worry “a great deal,” according to the release.


The survey showed 83% believe the federal government should be responsible for protecting the food supply, and that 89% support numerous new measures to ensure it has the authority to do so. Voters are also in support of more frequent inspections of businesses that supply food, according to the release.


“For too long, the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for the safety of over 80% of the foods we eat, has not had adequate resources or power to protect Americans from dangers in the food supply,” Erik Olson, director of food and consumer product safety for the Pew Health Group, said in the release. “This poll reflects a strong belief among most Americans that a healthy, nutritious diet is important, and they want to have confidence that their food is safe.”


Release of the survey comes as the Senate is expected to consider food safety legislation that gives FDA new oversight and enforcement powers. The House passed legislation giving stronger inspection authorities for federal officials when inspecting domestic facilities and imports in July.