Research projects -

Research projects

The tracking survey monitors understanding and knowledge of daily recommended calorie intake, use of traffic light labels, attitudes towards calorie information when eating out and awareness of campaign communications delivered by the Food Standards Agency in NI to improve consumer’s understanding of healthy eating recommendations.
This report contains the results of a three-month data gathering project, in which major retailers were subject to a microbiological survey of campylobacter contamination in fresh whole UK-produced chilled chickens at retail sale.
Results available
Report summaries on the findings of the first two phases of the review into the capacity, capability and governance of the UK official food and feed laboratory system.
A social science research project studying what people say about food on social media to identify emerging food trends.
Results available
Reports looking at the presence of brominated flame retardants in food, baby foods and instant formulae.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the occurrence of a range of regulated and emerging organic environmental contaminants in duck and other non-hen eggs that are available for sale in the UK
Results available
Research into the occurrence of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in chocolate, banana chips and herbs, spices, supplements and tea.
Results available
A report measuring chlorate levels in fruit and vegetables.
Results available
We have commissioned independent research to assess the proportion of food businesses that are displaying their food hygiene ratings since 2011. This report provides the findings from the 2018 wave of research making comparisons to previous years where possible.
The Total Diet Study (TDS) represents the average UK diet and is used to estimate the dietary exposure of the general UK population to a range of chemicals in food and make assessments on the safety and/or nutritional quality of food.
Results available
We run an annual consumer attitudes survey on the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) to track consumer awareness of the scheme, attitudes towards it and the use of the ratings over time.
Results available
We have conducted research which estimates the impact of food business compliance on food safety.
Key findings from research on sampled scones produced in Northern Ireland (NI) shows wide variations in portion size (g) and nutritional information (energy, sugar, fat, saturated fat, fibre and salt). The results will inform targeted interventions within the bakery sector, supported by technical expertise from academic institutions, to increase the availability of healthier products in local coffee shops, cafes and bakeries.
Results available
This programme aims to identify Campylobacter contamination and production practices within the UK broiler population to potentially target ways to controlling Campylobacter in slaughterhouses.
This survey looks at the proportion of Campylobacter jejuni and C. coli strains isolated from year 3 of the FSA’s retail chicken survey that were resistant to a range of antimicrobial agents.
Results available
This project studied how Campylobacter is transferred from live birds to carcasses during processing in slaughterhouses. The study also looked into methods for reducing this cross-contamination, and reviewed methods of disinfection.
Results available
A multi-stage research project to better understand consumers’ concerns in relation to food, to inform the development of our strategy for 2015-2020.
Results available
Insight project building on a 2015 consumer segmentation to identify different consumer attitudes to food safety, hygiene and preparation. This research focused on improving understanding of attitudes and behaviours towards a wide set of food related topics.
Results available
Research exploring interest in, expectations around and needs in relation to online display of Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) information on food ordering websites in Northern Ireland. The research involved deliberative ‘Citizens’ Forum’ workshops and a subsequent online forum.
Results available
Independent research assessing the effectiveness of food withdrawal and recall processes in the UK food retail sector.
Results available
Research investigating E. coli O157 high level excretion (super-shedding) from cattle and the threat it poses to human health across Scotland, England and Wales.

Independent research exploring Northern Ireland (NI) consumers’ perceptions of product reformulation (to reduce levels of sugar, saturated fat, salt) and reduction in portion size by the NI food industry.
Research study among small and medium-sized (SME) food businesses (FBOs) to measure awareness of and compliance with food safety guidelines and regulations.
Results available
This research aimed to understand business’ awareness of available information, perceived relevance and appeal of information, impact of materials currently used, format and channel preferences for guidance and identify any gaps in existing support and priorities for alteration.
Results available