BSE concerns on the wane

Related tags Cent Nutrition Uk

Consumer concern about BSE, eggs and the safety of meat is
declining but awareness about fruit, vegetables, and salt
consumption is on the up, cites the fourth annual food survey from
the UK's food watchdog.

Good news for the UK beef industry with the Food Standards Agency survey, that questioned over 3000 consumers in the UK, finding a significant decline in consumer concern over BSE, down to 42 per cent in 2003 from 61 per cent in 2000.

In general, consumer concern has dropped off over the safety of meat ?particularly raw meat, a 7 per cent drop from 70 per cent in 2000 to 63 per cent in 2003 and raw beef, down to 38 per cent in 2003 from 53 per cent in 2000.

Evidence that government and industry driven moves to up fruit and veg consumption came from a year-on-year increase in the number of consumers who are aware that we should eat five portions of a variety of fruit and veg each day - up from 43 per cent in 2000 to 59 per cent in 2003 - although only 28 per cent claimed to have eaten the recommended amount of fruit and veg the day before.

According to the FSA, more consumers today look for the total salt content in a product by checking the nutritional information on food labels than in 2000, up from 22 per cent in 2000 to 36 per cent in 2003.

Showing the strength of labels, 78 per cent of consumers claim to check food labels, 31 per cent always, 26 per cent usually and 21 per cent occasionally.

The majority, 60 per cent, said they found information on food labelling easy to understand. However one in five consumers found some food labels 'fairly difficult' to understand, and one in twenty found them 'very difficult'. Two-fifths of consumers are concerned about the accuracy of food labelling compared to around a third in previous years.

Further details about the FSA Consumer Attitudes to Food Survey can be found on the website.

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