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Public Attitudes Tracker survey results published

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

Food issues of concern

The top food safety issues of concern 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 were:

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

Concern about food safety in UK food outlets

45% of respondents reported concern about food safety in UK restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways and 43% of respondents reported concern about food safety in UK shops and supermarkets.

Awareness of hygiene standards

82% of respondents reported that they were aware of hygiene standards in places they eat out at or buy food from. The most commonly reported ways of knowing about hygiene standards were via hygiene stickers / certificates and the general appearance of the premises (both 61%).

Awareness of the FSA

Findings demonstrate that 79% of respondents reported being aware of the FSA, similar to previous waves. Of those aware of the FSA, 69% trusted the FSA to do its job, and 72% trusted the FSA to tell the truth in the information it provides. As with previous waves, the main issue respondents thought the FSA was responsible for was ensuring food bought is safe to eat (89%).

Awareness of food poisoning 

Salmonella and E-coli were by far the most commonly known types of food poisoning (total awareness of 91% and 85% respectively). Perceived most likely sources of food poisoning were raw chicken or turkey (79%), followed by shellfish (55%), reheated take-away food (46%) and eggs (37%).

Awareness and incidence of allergens

15% of respondents were aware of specific rules about allergens, and 11% reported that they have a food intolerance and / or allergy themselves. Most people (71%-78%) reported feeling confident to ask a member of staff at food outlets for more information about ingredients in food because of a concern about possible allergens / food intolerance.

Attitudes towards food production, sale and labelling

The majority reported that they trust that food is what it says it is and is accurately labelled (75%) and 73% trusted the authenticity of ingredients / origin / quality of food. Findings also demonstrated that 41% of respondents trusted that people who produce and sell food have their best interests at heart.