Food Safety Training, Auditing & Management
Food Safety Training, Auditing & Management

FSA publishes latest Public Attitudes Survey

The Food Standards Agency conducts a Public Attitudes Tracker bi-annually to monitor changes in consumer attitudes towards food-related issues. Results obtained in November 2017 have been published. The survey is conducted in England, Wales & Northern Ireland by interviews with approximately 2000 adults.

We have extracted the main results as they relate to food safety issues. The full report findings cover all areas of the food business including retail as well as hospitality, catering & food service.

The full report can be found on the FSA website by clicking the link at the bottom of this article.


Food business operators should take note of the number of respondents who cited the hygiene stickers displayed on food premises as their response to knowing about the hygiene standards.


The top food safety issues of concern for respondents were:

  • Food hygiene when eating out (36%)
  • Food poisoning (30%)
  • Chemicals from the environment, such as for example lead, in food (29%)
  • Food additives (26%)


The main wider food issues of concern not related to food safety were:

  • The amount of sugar in food (52%)
  • Food waste (48%)
  • Food prices (46%)
  • Animal welfare (43%)
  • Food prices (46%)
  • Animal welfare (43%)


Concern expressed about food safety in UK restaurants

45% of those surveyed reported concern about food safety in UK restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways. 42% reported concern about food safety in UK shops and supermarkets.

Respondent’s awareness of food hygiene standards

84% of respondents reported being aware of the hygiene standards in places they eat out at or buy food from. The most commonly reported ways of knowing about hygiene standards were via hygiene stickers (61%) and the general appearance of the premises (60%). Staff appearance was given by 42% as an indicator, with reputation & word of mouth at 36% & 32% respectively. Of those surveyed only 15% stated websites as a primary means of identifying a food business hygiene standards despite easy accessibility.

Awareness of food poisoning 

Salmonella at 89% and E-coli at 82% were by far the most commonly known types of food poisoning. Perceived most likely sources of food poisoning were raw chicken or turkey (79%), followed by shellfish (54%), reheated take-away food (47%) and eggs (38%).

Awareness of allergens

18% of respondents were aware of specific rules about allergens, and 10% of the respondents reported that they have a food intolerance and / or allergy themselves. Most people surveyed reported feeling confident to ask members of staff at food outlets for more information about ingredients in food because of a concern about possible allergens/food intolerance.

The full report can be found on the FSA website

Biannual Public Attitudes Tracker November 2017


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