New research reveals high level of consumer trust in food safety

New research shows that consumers believe that food safety in Ireland has improved in the past five years, with some nine in 10 people considering food in Ireland safe.

Comprehensive industry and consumer research undertaken by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI ) revealed today that overall food safety concerns by the food industry have also reduced due to what the industry perceives as robust regulations combined with their increased knowledge of food safety procedures and robust controls by food inspectors.

The FSAI national attitudinal research shows that the increased costs of doing business are cited by more than 3 in 4 (76% ) of food businesses as the top issue affecting the industry and this is followed by concerns over the availability of staff (46% ). The research also highlights that despite increased confidence in Irish food being safe to eat, numerous food safety issues remain for food businesses. Food allergens, food hygiene and handling, as well as food poisoning rank as the greatest food safety concerns for Irish food businesses, with over a third of food businesses listing these in their top three concerns.

The FSAI undertook two comprehensive research surveys with both industry and consumers to seek attitudes on food safety, sustainable food, and food safety regulation. Overall, there is strong confidence in food safety measures among industry and consumers, with the industry also acknowledging the importance of food safety regulations in Ireland.

The research reveals that some three in five food businesses claim that their company currently seeks to produce, source, or supply food more sustainably. Whilst one in five (21% ) businesses expressed that sustainability initiatives make it harder to adhere to food safety regulations, almost 8 in 10 (79% ) believe that supplying food more sustainably will have no impact on adhering to food safety regulations. From a sustainability perspective, most consumers, 3 in 4 (76% ) say it is important that food is produced in a sustainable way. Whilst three in four (74% ) consumers would like strict deadlines imposed on manufacturers to improve the use of plastic, there was a strong understanding of the importance of packaging in terms of food safety and authenticity (67% ) and preserving shelf-life (63% ).

Other key findings from the food businesses research reveal that overall, there are high levels of confidence in food safety measures for both the Irish food industry and those working in their specific sector, with nearly nine out of 10 (87% ) feeling confident in food safety standards. The industry cited carcinogenic or cancer-causing chemicals as a worry, with one in three (36% ) citing them as a concern, with pesticides and antibiotic residues following close behind.

In terms of consumer trends, the research also found that some four in 10 (45% ) people prepare meals at home from scratch using fresh ingredients daily and this rises to seven in 10 (71% ) doing so twice or three times per week. Some three in 10 (35% ) order take away food at least weekly. Whilst almost 3 in 5 (56% ) people check and adhere to use-by dates, a further two in five (40% ) say that whilst they check them, they don’t always follow the product’s expiry dates.

 

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