The safety of food and health products has become one of the top priorities of consumers, retailers, caterers and suppliers worldwide, according to Tuv Sud, a company which provides testing, certification, inspection and training for businesses.
The results of the study reveal that consumers are particularly sensitive to safety issues where animal products are concerned. For retailers and caterers, the main challenge is to ensure that the products they sell meet regulations and are safe for customers. Further up the value chain, suppliers need to test and certify their products while coping with pressures to control costs and reduce time to market.
“Consumers are particularly sensitive to safety issues in relation to animal-based products, and regard these products as potentially harbouring risks”, says Dr Ron Wacker, food expert at Tuv Sud, product service.
Consumers are more willing to place their trust in products that offer proven safety and are thus more likely to purchase those products. This is particularly true of the food industry, where illness may result from unsafe food products. The main culprits are usually microorganisms such as salmonella or E-coli bacteria, which proliferate in and on foods and may trigger health complaints when consumed.
A high majority of the consumers (90 percent) surveyed categorise raw meat and fish as the most unsafe products, followed by milk and dairy products and eggs (86 percent). Risks associated with these products are chiefly caused by incorrect storage.
Interestingly, documented cases of ill-health caused by harmful foods show that diseases such as salmonella poisoning are by no means triggered solely by animal products. Bacteria that live on the surface of vegetable products such as fruit, vegetables and nut are frequently the causes of foodborne illness. To allay consumer’s food safety concerns, manufacturers should apply for accreditation that will enable them to label their food as safe for consumption.