ALMOST 40 percent of Spaniards have little or no confidence that the food they buy is healthy or at least of no risk to their health.
This is according to the September Barometer from the Centre for Sociological Investigations (CIS), which also highlights that the main worries for consumers are genetically modified foods, bird flu and salmonella. Asked whether they had confidence that the food they buy is safe and healthy, just 9.9 percent said yes, while the majority (49.5 percent) said that they had sufficient confidence in the food they buy. However, 33.8 percent of the population had little confidence in food products and 6.8 percent said they had no confidence in them at all. Nevertheless, 52.3 percent of the participants in the poll thought that food safety had increased in the last 10 years, as opposed to 25.3 percent who thought it was the same, and 22.4 percent who thought it had got worse. The majority of those questioned had not had any recent problems with food, although 7.6 percent confirmed that they had had a case of food poisoning in their family which, in the majority of cases (52.1 percent), related to food eaten in restaurants, as opposed to 27.7 percent which related to food cooked at home. As for the places of distribution, supermarkets, hypermarkets and large stores take most of the market in comparison with traditional markets and local shops, as Spaniards think that they can buy safer food in the supermarkets, as opposed to 20.1 percent who have more faith in the markets and 16.7 percent who prefer small shops. With regard to the risks associated with food, 21.8 percent of Spaniards think it can cause diseases, 18.1 percent think it can cause poisoning and even death, and just 2 percent think about cholesterol and the risks of anorexia and bulimia. Asked about the controls put on food production by the authorities, 34 percent had more confidence in national controls rather than European controls, as opposed to 26.7 percent whose confidence was the other way round. In general, if a serious risk should be detected in fish or chicken, consumers have most confidence in the health authorities (57.2 percent) to give them information, followed by family doctors (27.7 percent), consumer associations (24.6 percent) and scientists (23.2 percent). And some 72.4 percent of those questioned had never heard of the existence of the Spanish Agency for Food Safety. In addition to this, among the people who recalled having seen something in the media about food risks, 65.7 percent mentioned chicken.