The Eurobarometer survey results show that environmental pollution (61%) and car accidents (51%) are the health concerns that the largest proportion of the population considers likely to affect them personally. Forty-nine percent are afraid of a serious illness and 42% think that their health could be damaged by the food they eat or by other consumer goods.
As to food safety, the survey results show high levels of concern about:
- pesticide residues in fruit, vegetables and cereals (63%),
- new viruses like avian influenza (62%),
- residues in meats like antibiotics and hormones (62%),
- unhygienic conditions in food handling outside the home, such as in food processing plants, shops or restaurants (62%),
- pollutants like mercury or dioxins (59%),
- genetically modified products in food or drinks (58%) and
- additives like colours, preservatives or flavourings used in food or drinks (57%).
According to the survey, the Greeks, Italians and Cypriots are the biggest worriers about food contamination issues whereas the Dutch, Finns and Swedes worry the least.
Consumer groups (32%), physicians or doctors (also 32%) and scientists (30%) are considered as the most trusted information sources regarding serious food risks, ahead of public authorities (22%) and the media (17%). The citizens trust food manufacturers (6%), farmers (6%) and supermarkets or shops (3%) the least.