Recent research conducted by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has unveiled a robust sense of confidence in food safety measures among both consumers and industry stakeholders in the country. The findings, derived from surveys undertaken in October and November 2023, paint a positive picture of Ireland’s food safety landscape.
According to the research, a staggering 9 out of 10 consumers expressed belief in the safety of food in Ireland, indicating a widespread perception of improvement in food safety standards over the past five years. The survey, which encompassed nationally representative samples, also delved into consumer habits, revealing that while a significant portion (35%) orders takeaway food at least weekly, the majority (more than half) conscientiously check and adhere to use-by dates.
Pamela Byrne, CEO of FSAI, emphasized the significance of the results, noting the strong trust evident in food safety measures among both consumers and businesses. She attributed this confidence to the high standards upheld by all stakeholders within the food industry.
The research also sheds light on industry perspectives, with nearly 9 out of 10 businesses expressing confidence in food safety standards. Despite this confidence, concerns lingered, particularly regarding carcinogenic chemicals, pesticides, and antibiotic residues. Food allergens, hygiene, handling, and the risk of food poisoning were also identified as top worries for Irish firms.
Moreover, the study revealed that while sustainability initiatives are embraced by many companies, some perceive them as potentially complicating adherence to food safety regulations. Nonetheless, the majority believe that sustainable food production can be achieved without compromising food safety standards.
Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State responsible for public health, wellbeing, and the National Drugs Strategy, lauded the research findings, highlighting Ireland’s science and evidence-based approach to food safety. She echoed the sentiment of reassurance conveyed by consumers’ belief in the improvement of food safety standards over the years.
In conclusion, the research underscores a prevailing confidence in Ireland’s food safety measures, signaling a positive outlook for both consumers and industry stakeholders alike.