Australians positive about safety of our food supply

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 3rd April 2008

Almost 65% of Australians felt that food safety was the same or had improved during the previous year, according to the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Consumer Attitude Survey launched today.

When launching the survey today, FSANZ’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve McCutcheon, said that food plays a vital role in our lives and it is important for consumers to feel confident in how it is regulated

“The survey, commissioned by Food Standards Australia New Zealand, gives a good insight into consumer confidence in the Australian and New Zealand food supply as well as food safety and labelling knowledge,” Mr McCutcheon said.

“ It shows that Australian consumers have positive levels of confidence in the safety of the food supply, with 64.5% saying they felt food safety generally was about the same or had improved during the previous year ago. Food safety concerns ranked twelfth after such issues as drought, household finances, the environment and healthy eating.

“Recognition of, and confidence levels in, those agencies regulating and monitoring the food supply were also high”.

“Consumer need for nutritional information on labels and their belief in their ability to make an informed decision about the product from the label were both high. Trust of food labels has room to move.

“The most commonly referred-to label information was the best before/use by date (73.1%), the amount of fat (61.8%), country of origin (59.1%) and the amount of sugar (56.5%).

The survey reveals that about a third of people believed they had suffered food poisoning in the previous year

“The majority of these people didn’t report their illness and only about a tenth thought it had something to do with home cooking,” Mr McCutcheon said.

“ Food poisoning such as Salmonella and E. Coli, imported foods and food hygiene were the three key concerns regarding general food issues”.

FSANZ, Australia’s peak food safety regulator, will use the information to better understand, prioritise and target consumer concerns. Outcomes of the research may also feed into specific standards development work.

“Consumer confidence in a safe food supply and their ability to make an informed choice about the food they buy are FSANZ ’s key priorities ,” Mr McCutcheon said.