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Assurance of an adequate and safe supply of food at a reasonable price is consumers' primary stake in the outcome of 1995 farm bill deliberations and related food and agricultural policies. Farm programs have provided an economically stable environment wherein farmers produce an abundance of food. The declining portion of household budgets required to purchase food has fueled the economic growth of the nation itself, transferring expenditures to durable goods, health care, and high technology. Food assistance programs are more than half of all expenditures on food and farm programs. In Congress the coalition wherein urban legislators supported rural farm programs in exchange for urban food program support is collapsing. The cost of food commodities is less than 24 percent of the cost of food. The system is no longer producer driven; retailers have supplanted farmers in the industrialization of agriculture. This fundamental transition demands changes in public policies and institutions to protect and inform consumers. Three policy areas of particular concern to consumers are food safety (quality and regulation), nutritional knowledge and information, and public research and product development. Contains nine references. (JAT)

Descriptors: Agricultural Production, Consumer Economics, Consumer Education, Consumer Protection, Federal Programs, Food Standards, Nutrition, Public Policy, Quality Control, Research and Development, Retailing, Welfare Services

Autor: Kinsey, Jean


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