Irish fear imported food but buy for price

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Costcutter Dunmanway store front at night

New Safefood research shows 54% of consumers in Ireland are concerned about imported foods from non-EU countries.

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14 August 2009

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All Ireland food safety agency Safefood has released a study of Irish peoples’ concerns and attitudes regarding imported foods. The report showed that 54% of consumers on the island of Ireland are concerned about imported foods from non-EU countries and 43% are concerned about food from within the EU.

Concerns included a range of factors, such as poor regulations and/or standards of food production in other countries (48%), poor quality (27%) and fear of contamination (24%). The greatest proportion of respondants (60%) were concerned about imported fresh meat, while 57%, 52% and 48% were concerned over frozen meat/poultry, fresh fish, and processed foods respectively.

Scientific support manager of Safefood, Dr Aileen McGloin said that while the report did not have major implications for the industry, finding out the attitudes of Irish people is of interest to food businesses.

“They should consider that people have concerns about imported foods, event though we document in the report that there are lots of measures in place to protect them.” McGloin also said that Irish people believe locally produced food is better quality and “more authentic” but that they perceive it to be too expensive.

“There is a real interest in and desire to support local food,” she commented, “but they don’t feel equipped financially to do so.”
McGloin said that there is an “issue” with current labeling laws, leading people to believe that there are “loopholes” and that they are being mislead about food origin, but this is being addressed at EU level. She added however: “We’re quite confident that as much as possible is being done to make sure that the food is safe before it enters the market.”

 

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