Half of diners concerned about food safety

By Sophie Witts

- Last updated on GMT

Half of diners concerned about food safety

Related tags: Food hygiene rating, Food standards agency

51 per cent of diners are ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ concerned about food safety in UK restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways, a report by the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has found.

The study also found that women were more likely than men to report concern about individual food safety and wider food issues.

The findings came from the FSA’s biannual Public Attitudes Tracker survey, which surveyed 2,684 UK adults on 5-12 November 2014.

Forty-two per cent of women were concerned with food hygiene when eating out compared with 36 per cent of men.

Respondents mainly judged restaurant and pub hygiene standards by the appearance of the premises (61 per cent) and the appearance of staff (47 per cent), rather than through awareness of hygiene certificates (46 per cent) or hygiene stickers (35 per cent).

An FSA spokesperson said: “The public can be reassured that local authorities carry out routine checks on hygiene standards in all food businesses. They also make this information available to all via the FSA’s Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS).

“We know that hygiene standards in these types of businesses are generally good and indeed improving. Where local authorities come across poor standards they would take appropriate action, which if necessary, could include closing the business down. We want to remind consumers that they can check the food hygiene rating of a business if they have concerns so they can choose a restaurant or pub with confidence.”

Respondents in Scotland were less likely to be concerned about food safety in restaurants, pubs, cafes and takeaways, with 42 per cent of people reporting concern compared to 51-61 per cent in the rest of the UK.

Twenty-eight per cent of Scottish respondents were concerned with food hygiene when eating out, compared to 40 per cent in the rest of the UK.

Across the UK 16-25 year olds were less likely to report concern with food hygiene or safety than any other group.

In 2013 it was made compulsory for businesses in Wales to display a Food Hygiene Rating sticker in a prominent place.

Businesses in England and Northern Ireland are encouraged to display their Food Hygiene Rating, but it is not currently compulsory by law.

Scotland currently operates a different Food Hygiene Information Scheme, under which businesses are encouraged, but not legally obligated, to display a sticker or certificate showing their food hygiene result.

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