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A Snapshot of Australian results

FSANZ Consumer Attitudes Survey 2007

A Snapshot of Australian results

(For the full report click here )

1. Consumers ranked healthy eating fourth (23.4%) as a major concern below drought/water shortages, household finances/cost of living and pollution/environmental issues when compared to a range of other current social issues. Food safety was ranked twelfth (8.6%).

2. A large proportion (43%) of Australian consumers reported that they felt food safety generally had remained ‘about the same’ over the past year with a further 21.8% saying it was ‘a little worse’ and 21.5% saying it was ‘a little better’.

3. Overall, 61% of Australians were confident that the food supply as a whole was producing safe food for consumption.

4. Fifty one percent of consumers reported having concerns about the safety of particular types of foods. Fresh fruit/vegetables (24.7%), meat (unspecified) (18.8%) and raw chicken/poultry (17.9%) were the top three types of foods reported to be of concern.

5. When presented with a list of general food issues that are commonly of concern, food poisoning such as salmonella and E. Coli (48.4%), storage times of foods sold as ‘fresh’ (47.6%) and the safety of imported foods (38.2%) were the top three issues of concern nominated by respondents.

6. Almost one third of respondents (31.6%) thought they had had food poisoning in the last year. However, of that 31.6%, over half (59.7%) did not report their illness to anyone. Those that did report their illness most commonly reported it to their doctor, staff at the food outlet or person/household responsible for the food preparation.

7. FSANZ was spontaneously mentioned as having a role in food regulation and monitoring by 8% of respondents and State and Territory health departments/authorities by 30%. When prompted, awareness of FSANZ rose to 60.2%.

8. Overall, 54% of respondents expressed confidence in the current measures taken by the organisations regulating and monitoring food. Confidence in the work of FSANZ was significantly higher than that for all organisations regulating and monitoring food.

9. More respondents considered there should be a ‘high level of regulation’ to manage food safety (44%) compared with public health issues such as obesity (28%).

10. Thirty three percent of respondents who had a role in grocery shopping reported they ‘always’ referred to labelling information when purchasing a product for the first time. The best before/use by date (73.1%), the amount of fat (61.8%) and the country of origin (59.1%) were the top three types of information on a food label most commonly looked for.

11. Respondents who had a role in grocery shopping identified labels on food packaging (83.5%), fact sheets/brochures (36.1%) and the internet (33.2%) as the top three sources of information on the nutritional content of foods.

12. The majority of Australians (70%) expressed confidence in their ability to make an informed decision from the information provided on food labels. Trust was at a lower level with 48% of consumers feeling they could trust the information provided on food labels.

13. Most respondents (81%) reported knowledge about food hygiene/food safety in the home, and most (86%) felt they had some degree of control over food hygiene/food safety for food prepared at home. These high levels of knowledge and control translated into a very high level of overall confidence in food hygiene/food safety precautions at home, with 92.4% of respondents reporting some degree of confidence.

14. Sixty two percent of respondents indicated overall confidence that food hygiene/food safety precautions were sufficient when eating out. Confidence was highest that the food hygiene/food safety precautions were sufficient in local bakeries, restaurants and supermarkets/grocery stores. Confidence was lowest for temporary food stalls/food vans, sausage sizzles/fetes/community events and takeaway/fast food outlets.

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