Food safety is the focus of major campaign launched in Europe
An initiative has been launched by the authorities in Europe to help consumers better understand food safety
The #EUSafeFoodCampaign is running for the third time this year with the aim, officials say, of encouraging the public to think more critically about the food they eat.
The campaign is organised by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) along with the 16 EU member states that are taking part this year – the largest number so far.
In a statement released by the EFSA, the organisation’s executive director, Bernhard Uhl, said he was “very pleased” to see that the campaign was “going from strength to strength” with a record number of countries participating.
“EFSA works with national food safety authorities and scientists from across Europe to ensure that food is safe, healthy, and sustainable,” he added.
“The #EUChooseSafeFood campaign makes the link between the science of food safety and the food that ends up on our plates, empowering consumers to make good food choices and to create a better understanding of food for everyone.”
According to the EFSA, the campaign provides practical and easily accessible information that can help consumers to read food labels better, understand additives and prepare and store food safely.
While it covers many food-related topics, a particular focus of this year’s campaign is on things that can be done to ensure food hygiene at home and reduce food waste. Another key topic is what is being done across the EU to tackle food-borne diseases, EFSA said in a statement.
The main targets of this year’s campaign are people aged between 25 to 45, with an emphasis on young parents and people with an interest in food safety and science.
“In the first two years of the campaign, #EUChooseSafeFood made a positive impact on consumer awareness and understanding of food safety in the EU,” the EFSA statement said.
“The share of those exposed to the campaign’s messages who recalled that food safety decisions are based on science grew from two in 10 in 2021 to four in 10 in 2022.
“Levels of trust in the EU food safety system also improved among those who came into contact with the campaign: 70% of citizens reported they trust the EU and national governments when it comes to food safety in 2022, a 10 percentage point increase on 2021.”
The campaign’s official launch, in May, was a starting point for initiatives that will be rolled out at an EU level and at a national level in the 16 countries taking part this year.
Governments and food safety authorities across the EU will initiate a range of targeted activities and events under the hashtag #EUChooseSafeFood.
The EFSA is keen for people to visit the #EUChooseSafeFood website, which it says contains useful information in all official EU languages on food safety topics.
Members of the public can also download what is described as a campaign toolkit that includes images, short films and social media posts that can be shared.
The countries taking part in the #EUChooseSafeFood campaign this year are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and North Macedonia.
SIAL Paris newsroom has extensively covered the activities of the EFSA, including calls from the organisation earlier this year for improved animal welfare standards.
The organisation said that better standards of welfare would improve the health of farmed animals which, in turn, would benefit consumers.
These views, including that animals should not be kept in cages or forced to endure painful mutilations, were put forward in two scientific opinions by the organisation on poultry and pigs.
EFSA issued the scientific opinions in response to issues raised by End the Cage Age, an EU citizens’ initiative that has caused the European Commission to agree to introduce a ban on cages.