Two in five Europeans take a personal interest in food safety but only one in five say it’s their main concern when choosing food, according to new research.
The data came from a new Eurobarometer survey by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) as part of the first ever World Food Safety Day.
It was found that for most Europeans, it is one of several factors – together with price, taste, nutrition and food origin – that influence their eating habits and food choices. When food safety is a factor, there is no single concern that predominates in all EU countries. However, there are three issues that surface most frequently in 20 EU Member States or more; the misuse of antibiotics, hormones and steroids in farm animals (44 per cent), pesticide residues in food (39 per cent), and food additives (36 per cent).
The most important factors for Europeans when buying food are where the food comes from (53 per cent), cost (51 per cent), food safety (50 per cent) and taste (49 per cent). Nutritional content is slightly less important (44 per cent), while ethics and beliefs rank lowest (19 per cent).
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, commented: “The results of this study show that Europeans have a high level of awareness of food safety topics and care what they eat. This gives us even greater motivation to continue our work in ensuring that our high standards are maintained and also strive to achieve more sustainable production and consumption patterns.”