More Kiwis take notice of what's in food - survey
NZPA | Friday, 2 November 2007

More New Zealanders are taking notice of what is in their food, according to the results of a survey carried out for the New Zealand Food Safety Authority (NZFSA).

The survey also found that more than half of those questioned – 53 per cent – believe that food safety standards have improved over the past few years.

Carried out by UMR Research in July, the survey revealed that the number of people studying ingredient labels has risen to 58 percent – 10 per cent more than those questioned in the original survey carried out in 2002.

The survey is the third undertaken for NZFSA since that time, and shows a number of trends.

While 85 per cent of respondents cited chicken as a primary food safety concern, 95 per cent said they were aware of the need for special care when cooking and handling poultry and always checked to ensure such meat had been cooked properly before eating it. Similarly, nine out of 10 said they always followed the 4Cs (clean, cook, cover, chill) rules when handling poultry.

"These results demonstrate that virtually all Kiwis are successfully applying our food safety messages in the home which is good news for us, for them and their families," said NZFSA deputy chief executive Sandra Daly.

Elsewhere in the survey 91 percent of respondents said they would like food outlets to clearly display their hygiene ratings and there was solid support for labelling initiatives, such as "free of added hormones".

Overall, three-quarters of respondents cited salmonella as a food safety issue that most concerned them; 67 per cent identified antibiotics in meat and 63 percent said campylobacter.

The number of respondents concerned about the use of pesticides to grow food, and genetically modified foods, remained consistent at 62 per cent and 56 per cent respectively, compared with 63 per cent and 57 per cent in 2005.

"Interestingly, the survey also showed us that though 42 per cent of respondents believe government regulations on food handling practices at fund-raising barbeques or food stalls would be over the top, 81 per cent say that they would expect the same level of food safety at a fund-raising dinner as they would at any other commercial outlet," Ms Daly said.

"We are well aware that these fund-raising events are very much a part of the Kiwi way of life. Consequently our plan to introduce food handler guidance material for fund-raising organisers as part of the legislation currently being drafted for the new Food Bill, will ensure any risks to consumers at these events are managed in a proportionate way."

The survey results, which overall are similar to those in the last UMR survey carried out in 2005, are based on a nationally representative random telephone survey of 750 New Zealanders, aged 18 and over. It was conducted during June and July.

From here .