Latest Food and You survey report published for Northern Ireland - FSA

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The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has published the individual Northern Ireland findings for Wave 4 of the Food and You Survey, which is published once every two years. The survey is used to collect information about the public’s self-reported behaviours, attitudes and knowledge relating to food issues. This information is used by the FSA to inform polices and work with consumers. 

The survey included questions on a broad range of topics:

  • Shopping, cooking and eating
  • Food safety in the home
  • Eating outside the home
  • Experiences and attitudes towards food poisoning
  • Attitudes and concerns about food production and the food system
  • Food allergy and intolerance
  • Food security
  • Our food futures
  • Food authenticity
  • Awareness and concerns about chemicals in food

In brief it found

  • Respondents in Northern Ireland were more likely than those in England to report never washing raw chicken (56% compared with 49%)
  • More than eight out of 10 respondents in Northern Ireland reported hand washing behaviours in line with recommended practices, saying they always washed their hands before starting to prepare or cook food (85%), and immediately after handling raw meat, poultry or fish (87%)
  • 79% of respondents in Northern Ireland identified the ‘use by’ date as the best indicator of whether food is safe to eat, as per FSA recommendations
  • The most common method used to defrost meat or fish was leaving meat or fish at room temperature (65%), which is not recommended
  • Respondents living in Northern Ireland, compared to those living in England, were more likely to agree that they recognised the Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (89% compared with 82%)
  • When eating out, 70% of respondents in Northern Ireland reported that the cleanliness and hygiene of the establishment was important to them; overall a quarter (25%) of respondents who ate out considered this the most important factor
  • Women in Northern Ireland were more likely than men to have all the responsibility for cooking or preparing food in the home (66% compared with 27%). And the proportion of women who reported having all or most of the responsibility for food shopping was more than twice the proportion of men (68% compared with 24%)
  • When asked about the recommended number of calories average men and women should eat in a day, 38% mentioned 2,500 calories for men, and 41% mentioned 2,000 calories for women, both in line with recommendations
  • People in Northern Ireland were most likely to mention restaurants (58%), fast food restaurants (52%), and takeaway outlets (47%) as places where they would like to see more information about healthy eating options

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