The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has launched two major research projects designed to identify consumer and industry concerns about food safety and food production.

Eoin McGettigan, chairman of the FSAI's Consultative Council, commissioned the research and said that through it he hoped to be able to offer the FSAI information that could inform its future agenda and policies.

He explained yesterday [Wednesday] that there is no real information currently available to reliably inform of the actual areas of consumer concern about the food industry.
 
"We know generally that consumers say they have concerns with food safety; with labelling and additives being viewed as the key issues," he said: "Detailed research is needed to accurately assess the level of concern there is and to help develop initiatives to specifically address those areas. When we have the results of our research, it will be very interesting to understand what the reality of these concerns are, and how they compare with current food safety initiatives."

McGettigan added: "The food industry is sharply focused on providing safer food through new safety measures and assurance schemes. It is continually reviewing its systems to help drive consumer confidence in food. It would be very worthwhile to know if these industry actions in any way correspond to stated consumer issues."

The FSAI has also published the minutes of its 22-member Consultative Council meeting for the first time on www.fsai.ie, in a bid to ensure both the food industry and consumers are aware of the issues that are debated on their behalf.