Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Consumer hygiene fears keep food industry on its toes

29.08.2006
A major outbreak of E.coli 0157 poisoning in which 500 people were affected and 20 people died, seems to have led to improvements in the management of food risks in the retail and catering industries in Scotland, according to ESRC funded research at the London School of Economics.

A report from the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation (CARR) says that an education campaign following the 1996 outbreak raised the profile of food safety and hygiene and brought home the importance of environmental health officers (EHOs) and the human costs of poor practices. Survey data also suggests that the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Scotland is generally perceived to have better relations with the local food community than their counterparts in London.

The CARR study, which has been reported in Environmental Health Scotland, says that many managers in hotels, restaurants and food shops in the UK pay just as much attention to consumer fears and opinions as they do to rules and regulations, when it comes to evaluating food hygiene and safety risks.

‘Most managers in the sample sense a general public awareness of food safety and food hygiene risks,’ says CARR co-researcher, Clive Jones. ‘They said safety concerns were more important to the consumer than value for money, labelling and other considerations such as GM or additive content, even though actual risks might not be very high.’

The on-going research focused on risk management practices by businesses in south-east England and Scotland. A survey of 204 individuals in more than 30 businesses, ranging from large supermarket chains to independent restaurants and take-aways, found there was no consensus about the state of food safety and food hygiene in the UK today. It also revealed a high degree of confusion about the division of responsibility and functions of state regulators. A sizeable minority of respondents did not know that environmental health officers were employed by the local council. Scottish convenience store managers and restaurants knew more about the role of EHO than their counterparts in south-east England, possibly as a result of the wide-ranging enquiry, led by Professor Hugh Pennington in the aftermath of the 1996 E.coli outbreak.

‘The results reveal some potentially interesting data about the effects of greater investment in education and training in food safety and food hygiene training,’ says Professor Bridget Hutter, who led the research. ‘The suggestion that consumers as well as those in the food industry were influenced by the events of 1996 is also worth further exploration.’

The aim of the LSE research was to explore the influences of external organisations and pressures on business risk management practices and to throw some further light onto the debate about so-called ‘smart’ regulation within and beyond the state.

The findings also show that:

- State regulation continues to be a key influence on business risk management, but the influence of non-state groups, including consumers and trade associations, is also significant.

- Locally based EHO are perceived as a key influence by 68 per cent of managers in medium and large size businesses and 67 per cent of managers in micro and small businesses when considering food safety and hygiene risks.

- The influence of the media, NGOs and lawyers is not highly rated. Few respondents knew what an NGO was.

- Attitudes to commercial consultancies selling risk management advice were mixed. Some managers said they were exploiting the confusion of small firms about hazard control systems. Others said consultants contributed to ‘over-implementation of risk management practices.’

- Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are more reliant on state regulatory systems than large businesses, which are more likely to belong to trade associations with their codes of practice and policing schemes.

Annika Howard | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers

17.02.2017 | Medical Engineering

Antibiotic effective against drug-resistant bacteria in pediatric skin infections

17.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>