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Consumer attitudes towards food safety

1 August 2018

According to the Food Standards Agency’s latest consumer attitudes survey, sugar has replaced food prices as the top food issue of concern.

The FSA’s Biannual Public Attitudes Tracker (May 2018) results have been published. The FSA conducts this tracking survey with consumers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, to monitor changes in consumer attitudes towards food-related issues and the FSA.

The top food safety issues of concern (which were unprompted) for respondents were:

  • Food hygiene when eating out (33%)
  • Chemicals from the environment, such as lead, in food (30%)
  • Food additives (29%)
  • Food poisoning (28%)

The top wider food issues of concern (including prompted responses) were:

  • The amount of sugar in food (55%)
  • Food waste (51%)
  • Food prices (43%)
  • Animal welfare (42%)

Overall concern about food prices has declined more than any other issue since November 2010, but the trend for concern has fluctuated during this period (between 40-63%).

Other than sugar and food price, the biggest change in concerns relates to food waste, up by 9% to 51% of respondents expressing concern.

The general trend indicates that the total concern for all food issues has decreased.

Trust in the food and drink industry

  • 41% of respondents said that they ‘trust the people who produce and sell food in the food industry have my best interests at heart’.
  • 59% said that they ‘trust the people who produce and supply food ensure it is safe, honest and ethically approved’.

 Sources of food poisoning

  • 79% of respondents felt that raw chicken or turkey was a source of food poisoning, with 29% mentioning unwashed vegetables or salad.
  • Cooking food thoroughly was the most commonly reported way of avoiding food poisoning (76%), closely followed by washing fruit and vegetables thoroughly (60%).

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