FSA News Item, 17 November 2010
A new European Food Survey shows that people in the UK take a more measured approach to possible food safety risks than their European neighbours.
The food survey, carried out by the European Food Safety Authority, asked about 27,000 consumers across the EU a range of questions relating to the possible risks associated with food.
Respondents were asked how worried they were about certain perceived food risks such as pesticides, food poisoning, and hormones in meat. UK respondents were less worried about all of these perceived risks than their European counterparts but were most concerned about the welfare of farmed animals and the quality and freshness of food.
UK respondents were more worried about the economic crises negatively affecting their lives than concerned that the food they personally eat could possibly damage their health. Only 29% of UK respondents thought that food could possibly damage their health as opposed to 48% in the rest of the EU. UK consumers were also less likely to permanently change their eating habits after hearing that a type of food was unsafe following media stories (only 7% in the UK compared to 11% in Europe).
Andrew Wadge, Chief Scientist at the Food Standards Agency, said: 'I'm delighted that we keep our stiff upper lip when faced with food scares and have a positive attitude to what we eat. I think we're right not to worry unnecessarily about food safety threats as there are lots of checks in place to keep food safe. On the other hand it’s important not to be complacent, and there are simple steps people can take to prevent food poisoning such as not eating food past its use by date, not washing poultry – as the bacteria can spread round the kitchen – and always making sure that they cook food thoroughly.'
For a related EU News Item (with a link to the report), see: 17 November 2010 FOOD SAFETY - New research results on EU consumers' perceptions of food-related risks