Public confidence in food safety low

The horsemeat scandal continues to affect the UK food industry, with many still unsure about the safety of their food. 

According to the Food Fraud Report 2017, published by NFU Mutual, almost three-quarters (72%) of those surveyed believe there to be an issue with food fraud in the UK, with one-third saying that they were less trusting of products and retailers than they were five years ago.

The survey showed that 18% of respondents were worried about red meat being fraudulent, 13% were worried about poultry, 8% were worried about white meat and 6% were worried about fish.

It also found that high-profile cases of fraudulent food in the media, such as the horsemeat scandal in 2013, are the most common causes of reduced confidence in nearly half of consumers (46%).

Frank Woods, retail specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Food fraud could be costing the UK food industry specifically a colossal £12 billion annually.”

Although three men have been sentenced for their part in the horsemeat case, Woods questioned whether it would improve consumer confidence.

“It will be interesting to see how the August 2017 sentencing of Andronicos Sideras, owner of Dinos and Sons Limited, Ulrich Nielsen and Alex Osler-Beech of Flexi Foods – sentenced for masterminding the horse meat scheme that saw at least 30 tonnes of meat passed off as beef – might help improve people’s confidence in the determination and ability of local authorities and organisations such as the Food Standards Agency to crack down hard on those committing food crime.”

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