TNS-BMRB, the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) and the University of Westminster carried out the first wave of Food and You on our behalf.
The first wave formed a baseline from which changes over time - the baseline is monitored further in wave two, wave three and wave four for Food and You.
The survey comprised 3,163 face-to-face interviews with adults aged 16+ (no upper age limit was applied) across the UK. Samples in Scotland and Northern Ireland were boosted to enable more detailed analysis at a country level.
Additional interviews were carried out in Scotland and Northern Ireland to allow country level analysis. These findings are available in two separate reports.
The FSA’s social science research is compliant with the Government Social Research service (GSR) Code of Practice and these reports are published with the GSR logo.
The key findings on food safety are:
- the majority of respondents reported that they follow recommended practices in relation to cleaning, cross-contamination, chilling and cooking.
- we advise that people shouldn’t wash raw meat and poultry. However many respondents said that they did – 41% said that they always wash raw meat and poultry, and 42% wash raw fish and seafood.
- there is a lack of knowledge around safe food storage – just under half (46%) correctly stated that the temperature of a fridge should be between 0 and 5°C.
- there is some uncertainty around the best way to tell whether food was safe to eat, with respondents commonly saying they used the smell (72%) and look (56%). The recommended practice of checking the ‘use by’ date was mentioned by a quarter (25%).
In the area of healthy eating, the survey found that the majority of respondents rated a variety of factors as important for a healthy lifestyle: 99% said eating fruit and vegetables was very or fairly important, 94% said that eating less salt was important and 92% said that limiting foods high in saturated fat was important.
About a fifth of respondents were able to identify the types and proportions of foods needed for a healthy balanced diet (based on the eatwell plate). Almost one in ten (9%) correctly stated that the maximum daily intake of salt for an adult was 6g. The survey also asked about intakes of other nutrients such as total fat, saturated fat and calories.
The survey was commissioned in 2009, before the responsibility for nutrition policy moved from the FSA to the Department of Health in England and to the Assembly Government in Wales.