On the first ever World Food Safety Day, a new Eurobarometer survey by EFSA (the European Food Safety Agency) was published. The survey looked at how European citizens think about food safety, what their concerns are, and how it impacts their consumption.
Interestingly, there was no one single over-riding safety concern. Instead, Europeans cited a number of issues, of which three surfaced most frequently: the misuse of antibiotics, hormones and steroids in farm animals, pesticide residues in food, and food additives. Moreover, two in five Europeans take a personal interest in food safety, while only one in five say it is their main concern when choosing food. Other factors such as price, taste, nutrition and food origin especially, play important role in influencing and determining eating habits. The concerns over GMOs which a few years ago were particularly discussed are less prominent today, whereas new issues such as the trace of microplastics in food have appeared. The figures also reveal important differences across EU countries.
In a positive turn, 82% of Europeans place their highest level of trust in scientists when it comes to information on food risks. This is an increase from 73% in 2010, and comes before trust in consumer organisations, farmers, national authorities and European Union institutions.