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harmful eating | microbiological risks | anti microbial resistance | chemical risks | dioxins | mercury | hormones | avian influenza | BSE syndrome | BSE/ the bill | food irradiation | allergies & intolerances | consumers concerns


source: www.trustinfood.org




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consumers concerns
Today, consumers expect healthy and safe food and increasingly demand to know where their food comes from. This is true in Europe…
  • According to the study "Trust in Food in Europe, A Comparative Analysis" (conducted as part of the “EU trust in food” project, 2002-2004) consumers, irrespective of where they live, have more trust in fruit and vegetables than meat products when it comes to food safety. About 1 in 5 consumers trust the quality of burgers from fast food outlets and meals offered in restaurants. However, the level of trust in various foods varies markedly. The most trusting consumers are the British, followed by the Danes and the Norwegians. Italy and Portugal represent the low-trust regions. German consumers are also skeptical. Similar variations between countries were found when consumers were asked about their trust in various institutional players in the event of a food scare. Variations in the levels of trust between countries were generally larger than variations between social groups within countries. (1)

  • According to the same study, between 1/3 and 1/4 of consumers think that the price, taste and quality of food as well as farming methods, nutrition and safety have deteriorated over time. Italian and Portuguese consumers display the highest level of pessimism, with 60-80% believing that food prices, taste and quality have worsened over the past twenty years. But a lower proportion believes that food safety and nutrition has become worse. Pessimism in all countries is associated with trust in individual food items. (1)

  • When asked about their level of trust in various institutional players in the case of a food scare, consumers rarely believed they were told the whole truth. Less than 10% of the respondents in all the surveyed countries trusted the food-processing industry to tell the truth about a food scare. About 10% trusted supermarket chains and 14% trusted farmers. The highest levels of trust were placed in consumer organisations, food experts and governmental bodies. The ranking of trust in institutional players was practically identical across all six nations. (1)

  • British respondents score highest on a trust in food index. They are also the most optimistic in regards to the development of food over recent decades. When it comes to trust in public authorities, however, the British are more skeptical. The high levels of trust in food found in Great Britain should be understood as a positive response to the measures taken in the wake of the BSE epidemic (better known as ‘Mad Cow Disease’) and other food scares. (1)

… and is also true in North America: health and food safety issues, in fact, range on top of US citizens’ concerns after a struggling economy and the threat of terrorism…
  • In an American Demographics/Harris Interactive poll conducted in January 2004, 1 person in 4 was either ‘extremely concerned’ or ‘very concerned’ about the safety of meat and produce. Almost 2 in 5 Americans – 39% believe organic or natural foods are healthier. And 1 in 3 believes they are safer. Today, 39% of all Americans say they ‘always’ or ‘often’ inspect food labels to find out how the product was produced, according to the same survey. And older Americans tend to inspect labels more often than younger ones: 50% of men between the ages of 45 and 54 look at labels; 55% of women over the age of 55 look at them. In contrast, 34% say they ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ look at food labels. (2)

  • According to an ABC-News poll, conducted in July 2003, 1/3 of Americans try to avoid buying foods that have been genetically modified (GM) or treated with antibiotics or hormones - and that resistance apparently would swell if such products were required to be labelled, as the public broadly desires. In this survey, huge majorities of Americans favour mandatory labelling - 92% for GM foods, and 85% for food from farm animals that have been fed hormones or antibiotics. On the flip side of the labelling issue, 51% say they're attracted to foods with labels saying they're not GM; and 46% say the same for food labelled as hormone- and antibiotic-free; (3)

  • A more recent poll in the USA shows that consumers will become more confident in the safety and security of the meat & poultry if a mandatory National Animal Identification System (NAIS) is implemented. More than 37% of respondents to the poll said their current meat safety confidence is high. Only 10% of respondents rated their confidence as low. According to the survey, if NAIS is implemented, average consumer confidence in meat safety and security would increase. Nearly 55% of those polled said their confidence would then be high, and those who said their confidence would remain low fell to less than 4%. (4)

  • The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70% of all antibiotics in the U.S. are used in healthy pigs,poultry, and beef cattle. Often antibiotics are prescribed for patients with illnesses like the flu or the common cold — that can’t be treated or cured with antibiotics. Because bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics due to the high amounts of antibiotics in our food, infectious diseases are emerging that we may not be able to cure. Keep Antibiotics Working is a coalition of health, consumer, agricultural, environmental, humane and other advocacy groups with more than ten million members dedicated to eliminating a major cause of antibiotic resistance: the inappropriate use of antibiotics in food animals.

  • (1) "Trust in Food in Europe, A Comparative Analysis": the research is based on a total of 8870 interviews, including about 1000 respondents from the smaller European countries and about 2000 from the larger ones. The selected countries -, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Norway, and United Kingdom - provide a representative picture of European countries, varying in size and geography. [ www.trustinfood.org]

    (2) American Demographics/Harris Interactive, “Truth or Scare”, 2,289 respondents, mid-January, 2004. [ www.organicconsumers.org/organic/demographics031604.cfm]

    (3) Global Animal Management Inc. (GAM), a provider of animal and premises identification systems, sponsored the consumer survey. The poll - of 1,000 US consumers – has been carried out in mid-May 2005. [ www.meatnews.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Article&artNum=9810]

    (4) “Genetic Resistance Poll: Modified Foods Give Consumers Pause”, analysis by David Morris/ABC News. The poll was conducted by telephone July 9-13, 2003 among a random national sample of 1,024 adults. [ www.mindfully.org/GE/2003/Consumer-Concern-Rethink15jul03.htm]

    harmful eating | microbiological risks | anti microbial resistance | chemical risks | dioxins | mercury | hormones | avian influenza | BSE syndrome | BSE/ the bill | food irradiation | allergies & intolerances | consumers concerns
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