Primary Presenter: Ruth Rasmussen, RN, MS, MPH, Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, University of Minnesota
Additional Authors: Diane Kampa, BS, Andrew Ryan, MS, Bruce H. Alexander, PhD; Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, University of Minnesota.
Learning Objectives: 1) Identify factors people think about when making food purchasing choices for self or family; 2) Assess public knowledge of agricultural worker health and safety.
Little information is available about the general public’s knowledge of agricultural worker safety. The Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health (UMASH) Center developed an electronic survey to measure the public perception of agricultural safety and the hazards faced by workers in the industry. The survey was given to visitors at the 2014 Minnesota State Fair. Of the 318 respondents, 213 never lived/worked on a farm. Taste and nutritional value were very important for both farmers and non-farmers when making food purchasing decisions, while cost was more important for non-farmers and being locally produced was more important for farmers. More non-farmers (17%) than farmers (12%) reported that they have never thought about agricultural worker safety when purchasing food, which was higher than for any other category including animal welfare. In addition, respondents in the lowest education and income groups were less likely to consider agricultural worker safety than those in the highest groups. In general, both farmers and non-farmers demonstrated knowledge about the health risks that agricultural workers face. These results suggest that consumers are less concerned with, or aware of, agriculture worker health and safety than many other factors when purchasing food.