Scottish consumers are putting increasing food safety risks due to financial difficulties, research has found | So Good News


Half of consumers surveyed in Scotland ate food later in the day because of financial worries, according to Food Standards Scotland (FSS).

The survey asked more than 1,000 people a series of questions in late September about changes in food-related behavior since April and cost of living problems.

For almost a third, eating food after the shelf life has been happening regularly since April. Those who had to do this were usually in the lower economic groups, living in large families, people with children at home and those in good health.

More than half of adults eat foods that are past their expiration date, to save money. Almost one in three people said that they have done this often since the beginning of this year. Use by date is about safety while best before date is about quality.

The risk of changing behavior

A total of 41 percent were changing their cooking habits or ways to try to save money. About 10 percent of respondents changed the temperature of the refrigerator or reduced the cooking time. Children between the ages of 18 and 34 were more likely to spend less time cooking than other age groups.

Only 2 percent had turned off their refrigerators and 1 percent of their refrigerators to reduce energy costs.

Consumers have taken several measures since April to save money. The most common was buying cheap brands or licensed foods; however, a quarter skipped meals or reduced portions; and used the smell test to determine whether food was good. Some are burning food several times.

Jacqui McElhiney, director of science at FSS, said: “While we were hoping that the results of this study would show a change in behavior in terms of how consumers buy and prepare food, it is concerning that many people are starting to do things that could lead to them not buying food. on the increased risk of food poisoning.

“Perishable food can become unfit to eat if stored for a long time, especially if it is not refrigerated. Conserving energy and preventing food waste are always priorities, but we must also remember the importance of food safety. “

About 70 percent of adults said they were worried about being able to afford food as of April and none were worried. Another 30 percent showed no change in opinion.

Think about safe food
McElhiney said the study showed that the cost of living problems are affecting consumer behavior which can affect public health.

“As Scotland’s Food Safety Authority, we are here to help protect consumers from food safety risks. While we understand this is only one part of a much bigger problem and appreciate the challenges faced by many consumers, it is our part to help the people of Scotland to avoid this deadly risk.” the most important food,” he said.

The survey was the first in a series of price surveys organized by the FSS and was completed before the electricity price hike in October.

A Food Standards Agency (FSA) consumer survey of 2,000 adults in September in England, Wales and Northern Ireland also found that some people are putting food safety at risk because of financial pressures and rising electricity costs.

About one in five turned off the fridge or freezer. A total of 27 percent changed the settings on the refrigerator or freezer to keep food at a warmer temperature. If food is not properly refrigerated, it can spoil quickly and become unsafe to eat.

Overall, 28 percent of participants reduced the temperature of food and 29 percent reduced cooking time.

A quarter of the students ate cold food because they could not afford to cook a hot meal. A third said that he ate the food before it was on time because he could not afford to buy anything else.

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