Food Safety Survey
For the World Food Safety Day
June 7, 2019 — 10 min read
Chicago (IL, USA), Marcy l’Étoile (France) – For this inaugural World Food Safety Day, Mérieux NutriSciences and bioMérieux conducted an international consumer survey to better understand consumer perception and behaviors towards food safety in four countries: the United States, China, France and India. Even if food safety seems to be a growing concern for these four countries, the results highlight different perceptions and expectations from one country to another.
When it comes to food safety, 96% of respondents in China declared that they are confident in the food they consume, 93% in India and 90% in the United States. In France however, only 65% declared to be confident in the food they consume. 52% of French people interviewed claim they feel not enough informed about the safety of the food they consume. Indians (86%), Americans (80%) and Chinese (77%) for their part feel well informed about this topic.
In terms of behavior, the best before date is the most important criteria in India (68%) and in the United States (61%). The best before date is considered a guarantee only for 33% of the French, focusing mainly on the origin, the traceability (71%), the composition of the product (63%), the existence of quality labels (41%).
The brand of the product is not considered as an important guarantee of food safety in France (11%), whilst coming in fourth place in China (42%), third place in India (43%) and fifth place in the United States. Another major difference between these countries is that the origin and the traceability of the product, is the number one criteria in France, number three in China whereas it is not even listed in the top 3 in India and in the United States.
NICOLAS CARTIER, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, INDUSTRIAL MICROBIOLOGY UNIT AT BIOMÉRIEUX:
“As a leader in microbiological food control, we are committed to protecting the health of consumers and the survey we have co-funded reveals that the criteria all four nations agree on as being a concern, is the presence of bacteria in food, rated in the top 3 by Americans, Chinese, Indians and French people. This illustrates the importance of the microbiological quality of food and beverage for consumers from these 4 countries.” said Nicolas Cartier, Executive Vice President, Industrial Microbiology Unit at bioMérieux.
Among the six criteria used in the survey (presence of chemicals in food, food fraud, presence of bacteria, use of new technologies, presence of viruses, traces of allergens), Americans (64%) are, on average, less worried than French (78%), Indians (81%) and particularly Chinese (89%).
PHILIPPE SANS, PRESIDENT & CEO OF MÉRIEUX NUTRISCIENCES:
“When looking at the future, guaranteeing that a product does not present any bacteriological or poisoning risks remains instrumental. It will also become important to ensure that the product is free of preservatives, not carcinogenic, organic and with an acceptable carbon footprint.” said Philippe Sans, President & CEO of Mérieux NutriSciences.
This implies major behavioral changes in many countries. Regarding the packaging, French (92%), Chinese (72%), Indians (87%) and Americans (83%) are predominantly willing to accept the evolutions: less individual packaging, less plastic and more returnable glass. However, a minority of French (45%) and Americans (49%) would accept to pay more for healthier and safer food. Indians (72%) and Chinese (73%) would gladly consent.
For this first World Food Safety Day, this survey draws attention to the fact that Food Safety is crucial across geographies, and is everyone’s concern.