First-ever Lloyd’s Register Foundation World Risk Poll shows global state of food safety with over half the world’s population – 60% of people worldwide – saying they are worried about the food they eat and 51% concerned about the safety of the water they drink.
The first of its kind, the World Risk Poll shows most of the world is worried they will be harmed by the food they eat every day: over half of the world’s population, 60 per cent of people worldwide, say they are worried about the food they eat and 51 per cent are concerned about the safety of the water they drink.
Seventeen per cent of poll respondents – equivalent to one billion people worldwide – suffered significant harm from the food they ate in the two years prior to polling, and almost as many, 14 per cent or 823 million, have been seriously harmed by the water they drink.
With around 10 per cent of its respondents reporting serious harm in the last two years, the UK ranks 126 out of 142 for the experience of serious harm from eating food – placing Britain among the top 20 countries in the world for food safety.
The World Risk Poll is the first global study of worry and risk across the world. The poll was conducted by Gallup as part of its World Poll, with over 150,000 interviews completed in 142 countries. The poll intends to transform our understanding of worry and wellbeing to pinpoint how people across the globe perceive and experience risks, to ultimately engineer a safer world.
“The World Risk Poll gives us the first ever global view of people’s attitudes and awareness of the risks posed by unfit food and drink. By understanding how people view food safety risks, what they worry about and what they never consider, we can create interventions that are relatable and practical so people can act in their interests and keep safe and healthy,” said Markus Lipp, United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization.
The poll indicates that the burden of food-related diseases is not spread equally across the world and is highly related to economic development levels, with low-income and middle-income countries disproportionately affected.
Dr Sarah Cumbers, director of evidence and insight, Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said, “Despite the global nature of the safety threat from contaminated food and water, policymakers and professionals have been hampered by the lack of rigorous and comprehensive data on the level and nature of hazards and the prevalence of associated illnesses. The World Risk Poll supports efforts to collect data on the safety threat of contaminated food and water.”
Genetically modified (GM) food is seen as high risk with 48 per cent of people worldwide saying they think that GM foods will mostly harm people in their country over the next 20 years. This is a view predominantly held in higher-income countries where GM foods are seen as a safety issue. In lower-income countries, 42 per cent of people think that GM foods will mostly help people in the next 20 years.