Food safety awareness improving, says FSA

The majority of respondents to the Food Standards Agency’s 2012 wave of food safety practices in the home survey were in line with those recommended, such as the four Cs: cleanliness, cooking, chilling and cross-contamination. These were generally up on responses from the 2010 survey.

Women and younger people reported practices most in line with those recommended – however men were 1.5 times more likely than women to go against FSA recommendations on safe food preparation, while older respondents were twice as likely as younger respondents. Those in England and Scotland also adhered to recommended food safety practices more than those in Northern Ireland and Wales.

About a third of respondents had seen a FHRS certificate/sticker, and 44% for FHIS

About a third of respondents had seen a FHRS certificate/sticker, and 44% for FHIS

Besides safety in the home, the survey shows that food safety and hygiene is a factor when consumers are eating out, with nearly three-quarters of respondents agreeing it was a consideration, although only 10% said they had used the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme or Food Hygiene Information Scheme in evaluating an establishment, with most making observations on the appearance of the restaurant or staff to form their opinion.

While results showed that in areas where public information campaigns had been undertaken, awareness was greater – almost as many people sought advice on preparing and cooking food safely from TV cooking shows as from the packaging instructions.

FSA Food Safety Adviser, Bob Martin, said that these biannual survey results “will help us to target our work with consumers where we can make the biggest impact on reducing foodborne disease”.

The FSA says Food and You is to be reviewed. It is hoped it can be further improved upon to explore changing attitudes to food safety as new technologies emerge, as well as the impacts of public health concerns such as during the horsemeat scandal. The full results of the survey are available from the Food Standards Agency website.

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