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Public worry about food safety when eating out

Almost half of UK consumers are worried about food safety in the out-of-home sector, according to new data from the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

The FSA tracks public attitudes to food every two years. It found that 45% of people reported concern about food safety in UK restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways, compared with 42% who expressed concern about food safety in UK shops and supermarkets.

The top food safety issues of concern were food hygiene when eating out (36%), food poisoning (30%), chemicals from the environment such as lead in food (29%), and food additives (26%).

Beyond food safety, wider issues of concern were the amount of sugar in food (52%), food waste (48%), food prices (46%), and animal welfare (43%).

The majority of those surveyed reported that they trust that food is what it says it is and is accurately labelled (75%); while 74% said they trust the authenticity of ingredients.

The FSA has conducted the Public Attitudes Tracker survey since 2001 in order to monitor key issues, including trust in the FSA itself. Of the 78% of respondents aware of the FSA, 70% trusted it to do its job, and 75% trusted the FSA to tell the truth in the information it provides.