Public have high confidence in UK food safety, survey shows

The report shows that British food and farming is highly valued by the public
The report shows that British food and farming is highly valued by the public

The majority of British people admit to taking food safety for granted two decades after some of the UK's biggest food scares, including BSE and salmonella outbreaks.

A new YouGov survey of more than 2,000 adults looked at people’s concerns about the food they buy and how their confidence in UK produced food has been restored.

Commissioned by the Red Tractor, it reveals a marked difference in the levels of trust between supermarkets and restaurants when it comes to their food standards.

The survey shows that 71% said they were confident that the food they buy from a supermarket has been produced to high standards and that they know where it comes from.

This compares to only half of people who feel confident about standards and traceability when eating out at a restaurant or café.

Meanwhile, 76% of people admit that they take food being produced to high safety and food standards for granted.

People are most worried about what they perceive could have a direct negative impact on their health.

Of all the high profile food crises the one that has made people the most concerned is BSE, also known as 'mad cow disease', with 72% admitting to being fairly or very concerned.

The numbers increased significantly to 83% for those aged over 55. In areas like the North East of England with a prominent farming community it was found to be even higher at 85%.

The report goes on to show that British food and farming is highly valued by the public.

Having advanced food production standards has helped safeguard the UK from some of the outbreaks and food contamination incidences that have been seen in other countries, including last year’s e-coli outbreak in Romaine lettuce in the USA.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 17% of people in the US suffer from foodborne illnesses each year compared with just 1.5% in the UK.

The survey was commissioned by Red Tractor, the largest food and farming standards scheme in the UK. It was created in 2000 after a spate of food scares.

The food assurance scheme has been instrumental in rebuilding trust in British farming by improving standards of safety and quality.