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While customers across the rest of Europe are more worried about pollution, GM foods and additives, people in the UK care more about the ethical treatment of meat and poultry.
The research, which was conducted by the European Food Safety Authority, surveyed 26,700 people across Europe, including more than 1,300 Brits. Respondents were asked how concerned they were about certain perceived food risks such as food poisoning and the use of hormones in meat.
Only 29% worried that food could damage their health, compared with 48% in the rest of the EU. British respondents were also less likely to change their eating habits after hearing that a type of food was unsafe in media reports. However, the study was made before the cloned cow milk scare caused controversy back in August.
Andrew Wadge, chief scientist at the UK Food Standards Agency, told The Guardian: “I’m delighted that we Brits keep our stiff upper lip when faced with food scares and have a positive attitude to what we eat. I think we’re right not to worry unnecessarily about food safety threats, as there are lots of checks in place to keep food safe.”
However, Mr Wadge advised against complacency: “There are simple steps people can take to prevent food poisoning, such as not eating food past its use-by date, not washing poultry, as the bacteria can spread round the kitchen, and always making sure that they cook food thoroughly.”