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Sixty per cent of people worry about the safety of their food

The World Risk Poll data reveals that 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 water they drink. 

 

Seventeen per cent of poll respondents – equivalent to one billion people worldwide – experienced serious harm, or know someone who experienced serious harm, caused by the food they ate in the two years prior to polling, and almost as many, 14 per cent or 823 million, were seriously harmed by the water they drank.

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. The greatest levels of harm from food occur in East Africa (29 per cent per experienced harm) and the Middle East (27 per cent experienced harm).  Countries and territories that had experienced the most harm from food were those in the developing world; the top three countries were Liberia (52%), Zambia (51%) and Mozambique (45%).

However, the World Risk Poll reveals that in all these regions levels of worry about food are lower than the levels of harm experienced. East Africa (25 per cent worried) and Middle East (22 per cent worried).

In Southern Africa and Latin America, and the Caribbean, levels of harm experienced from food are high (26 per cent and 22 per cent respectively) but levels of worry are much higher (43 per cent and 33 per cent). The same pattern is repeated for experience of harm and worry about water. This suggests that communication about food and water risks should be very specific, so that people are enabled rather than disabled by it.

World’s population experiencing serious harm from food

One billion people, or 17% of the world’s population, say that they or someone they know had experienced serious harm from eating food in the two years prior to polling.

Worry about and experience of being seriously harmed by unsafe food

 █ % Very Worried           % Experienced

Survey question: 1. In general, how worried are you that each of the following things could cause you serious harm? Are you very worried, somewhat worried, or not worried? The food you eat [dark green bar] 2. Have you or someone you personally know, experienced serious harm from any of the following things in the past two years? [light green bar]

The countries with the highest levels of worry about food and water are those with developmental and climate-related issues.

Many of the countries with the highest levels of worry about food and water are low income economies and those experiencing severe weather events. The highest awareness of food and water related risk was in Malawi closely followed by a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Data from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations shows that each year around three million people across the world die as a result of eating food tainted with bacteria, viruses, pesticides or chemical residues. In addition 600 million people a year fall ill through eating contaminated food, adding to the toll of human misery on the planet but also costing the global economy hundreds of billions of dollars. The World Health Organisation estimates that a further 485,000 people die each year from drinking contaminated water.

Countries experiencing harm from food and water

People across the world who answered YES to the question of whether they’d experienced serious harm from food and water in the two years prior to polling.
(% of each country population)

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.

Markus Lipp
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation

Forty-eight per cent of people worldwide think that GM foods are more likely to harm than help them over the next twenty years.

Although the world’s population suffers many problems from the food they currently eat, genetically modified (GM) food is seen as a 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 twenty 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 twenty years.

The World Risk Poll also shows that only 15 per cent of the world’s population trusts government organisations in their countries as their number one source of information on the safety of food and water, preferring to trust information provided by family and friends ( 31 per cent) and medical professionals (22 per cent). This pattern is the same for people who have experienced harm and those who have not experienced it.

Will GM food mostly help or harm people over the next 20 years?

infographic 03 Will GM food mostly help or harm people over the next 20 years

 █ % help          % harm

Survey question: Please tell me whether you think genetically-modified food will most HELP or mostly HARM people in this country in the next 20 years. If you don’t have an opinion about this, please just say so. (by World Bank Income groups)

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.

The results of the World Risk Poll also reveal that food safety authorities need to consider carefully the channels they use to disseminate crucial information if it is to be effective. They should seek out ways to build trust amongst the people most threatened by unsafe food and water, tailoring their messages and the communication routes to vulnerable people according to the different audiences they are addressing.

Dr Sarah Cumbers
Director of Evidence and Insight, Lloyd’s Register Foundation

The Experience of Harm Index

NationExperience IndexExperience Rank
Afghanistan31.4821
Albania20.1260
Algeria21.6749
Argentina16.3881
Armenia9.88123
Australia16.1983
Austria12.77104
Azerbaijan8.01132
Bahrain20.8055
Bangladesh15.0691
Belarus7.76134
Belgium13.43102
Benin31.3422
Bolivia20.8553
Bosnia Herzegovina10.40118
Botswana22.3546
Brazil23.3044
Bulgaria5.84138
Burkina Faso22.7245
Cambodia16.5480
Cameroon30.5226
Canada19.5164
Chad36.0410
Chile17.4874
China6.46137
Colombia20.8154
Congo Brazzaville36.357
Costa Rica17.2775
Croatia12.00108
Cyprus14.3295
Denmark10.96116
Dominican Republic25.7934
Ecuador17.5473
Egypt11.88111
El Salvador20.7656
Estonia9.67126
Ethiopia22.1848
Finland14.6993
France12.40106
Gabon36.516
Georgia11.38114
Germany12.50105
Ghana31.0225
Greece12.06107
Guatemala26.3933
Guinea29.2030
Honduras21.5951
Hong Kong9.51128
Hungary7.99133
India18.7668
Indonesia19.3765
Iran24.3141
Iraq36.338
Ireland16.5579
Israel18.6669
Italy15.5587
Ivory Coast33.8717
Jamaica20.1458
Japan10.15120
Jordan22.2547
Kazakhstan9.84124
Kenya34.2215
Kosovo14.1296
Kuwait15.3889
Kyrgyzstan10.93117
Laos17.8372
Latvia9.32130
Lebanon15.2590
Lesotho34.4514
Liberia46.641
Libya29.3929
Lithuania13.6199
Luxembourg18.4070
Macedonia19.5963
Madagascar31.0724
Malawi40.584
Malaysia19.8662
Mali24.6239
Malta13.8097
Mauritania20.1359
Mauritius21.1952
Mexico19.0567
Moldova18.3371
Mongolia10.04121
Montenegro19.3266
Morocco25.6035
Mozambique40.653
Myanmar11.41113
Namibia35.7511
Nepal28.7431
Netherlands15.4488
New Zealand15.9086
Nicaragua16.0484
Niger25.4636
Nigeria15.9785
Norway9.91122
Pakistan34.8013
Palestine21.6550
Panama23.5143
Paraguay20.5657
Peru24.7538
Philippines29.6228
Poland5.29139
Portugal16.8277
Romania8.06131
Russia9.34129
Rwanda32.0920
Saudi Arabia16.7078
Senegal34.0316
Serbia11.03115
Sierra Leone35.5912
Singapore3.91141
Slovakia13.52100
Slovenia11.93110
South Africa32.6318
South Korea9.58127
Spain16.8576
Sri Lanka13.50101
Swaziland31.3422
Sweden13.36103
Switzerland11.72112
Taiwan6.95136
Tajikistan9.71125
Tanzania24.4440
Thailand10.33119
Gambia36.089
Togo32.2219
Tunisia25.2537
Turkey14.5994
Turkmenistan4.44140
Uganda36.975
Ukraine7.43135
United Arab Emirates16.3881
United Kingdom13.6998
United States19.9961
Uruguay14.9992
Uzbekistan3.80142
Venezuela29.8227
Vietnam11.97109
Yemen27.3732
Zambia46.172
Zimbabwe23.6142

The Government Safety Performance Index

NationTrust IndexTrust Rank
Afghanistan28.60139
Albania42.12122
Algeria48.88111
Argentina47.41113
Armenia56.6789
Australia81.3217
Austria77.8125
Azerbaijan63.9361
Bahrain90.173
Bangladesh70.2940
Belarus64.7559
Belgium66.5754
Benin68.6745
Bolivia61.4474
Bosnia Herzegovina39.65126
Botswana81.2418
Brazil50.29103
Bulgaria40.26124
Burkina Faso64.8458
Cambodia62.8866
Cameroon50.21104
Canada79.3220
Chad46.65115
Chile38.97128
China80.0319
Colombia60.9375
Congo Brazzaville46.49116
Costa Rica74.8730
Croatia36.51131
Cyprus54.1197
Denmark81.3616
Dominican Republic67.4150
Ecuador59.2282
Egypt61.7973
El Salvador75.4628
Estonia60.0878
Ethiopia49.44107
Finland77.8824
France57.6386
Gabon36.44132
Georgia49.06109
Germany69.3144
Ghana62.4568
Greece45.43117
Guatemala62.8567
Guinea50.84102
Honduras59.2880
Hong Kong73.6733
Hungary74.4131
India73.3534
Indonesia86.746
Iran64.2960
Iraq31.56137
Ireland75.1929
Israel67.8949
Italy57.4787
Ivory Coast66.6253
Jamaica58.2084
Japan71.1738
Jordan66.4955
Kazakhstan69.3443
Kenya69.3842
Kosovo46.67114
Kuwait86.955
Kyrgyzstan56.2291
Laos54.8994
Latvia49.39108
Lebanon29.04138
Lesotho38.53129
Liberia43.22121
Libya61.9570
Lithuania44.79119
Luxembourg81.8015
Macedonia50.02105
Madagascar67.3251
Malawi59.0383
Malaysia82.7912
Mali51.68100
Malta81.8414
Mauritania33.79134
Mauritius73.1836
Mexico59.6179
Moldova44.46120
Mongolia47.62112
Montenegro40.76123
Morocco38.43130
Mozambique72.6137
Myanmar63.7862
Namibia63.2165
Nepal54.6095
Netherlands84.809
New Zealand79.3121
Nicaragua76.1526
Niger57.4588
Nigeria49.05110
Norway78.2923
Pakistan49.91106
Palestine60.8876
Panama70.3839
Paraguay39.87125
Peru51.37101
Philippines87.354
Poland57.9685
Portugal66.2156
Romania32.77136
Russia45.24118
Rwanda84.928
Senegal56.2690
Serbia55.5592
Sierra Leone59.2781
Singapore93.031
Slovakia61.9571
Slovenia67.9348
South Africa63.6063
South Korea63.3464
Spain62.0769
Sri Lanka74.2732
Swaziland78.5222
Sweden84.7210
Switzerland85.527
Taiwan68.6746
Tajikistan82.0113
Tanzania73.2935
Thailand60.2477
Gambia66.7052
Togo53.1198
Tunisia39.24127
Turkey54.5796
Uganda61.8572
Ukraine32.98135
United Arab Emirates92.762
United Kingdom75.4827
United States69.4841
Uruguay68.6347
Uzbekistan83.1211
Venezuela34.90133
Vietnam65.9157
Yemen25.27140
Zambia51.8099
Zimbabwe55.1193

The World Worry Index

NationWorry IndexWorry Rank
Afghanistan44.0465
Albania49.4739
Algeria42.5373
Argentina43.3568
Armenia31.77121
Australia28.83131
Austria36.4099
Azerbaijan35.13105
Bahrain34.04110
Bangladesh49.2642
Belarus30.33127
Belgium36.33100
Benin56.2123
Bolivia49.7437
Bosnia Herzegovina33.71112
Botswana48.6744
Brazil58.3413
Bulgaria31.64122
Burkina Faso54.1327
Cambodia47.1451
Cameroon50.4635
Canada32.31119
Chad56.5921
Chile54.6325
China30.92125
Colombia49.4041
Congo Brazzaville59.906
Costa Rica41.8378
Croatia33.34115
Cyprus51.6432
Denmark22.64139
Dominican Republic42.7772
Ecuador52.9530
Egypt37.4397
El Salvador41.6680
Estonia25.71137
Ethiopia35.49104
Finland26.18135
France41.1385
Gabon60.564
Georgia34.14108
Germany36.33100
Ghana54.5726
Greece42.2276
Guatemala45.9658
Guinea62.762
Honduras41.9977
Hong Kong38.0094
Hungary29.19129
India39.2588
Indonesia46.9053
Iran37.7495
Iraq49.2443
Ireland35.63103
Israel28.98130
Italy44.9761
Ivory Coast59.0710
Jamaica49.6638
Japan44.2863
Jordan43.6666
Kazakhstan33.48114
Kenya47.2150
Kosovo43.0270
Kuwait34.64107
Kyrgyzstan43.0969
Laos42.2875
Latvia33.51113
Lebanon47.9846
Lesotho60.564
Liberia58.2214
Libya39.6287
Lithuania26.04136
Luxembourg38.6192
Macedonia48.5845
Madagascar41.7479
Malawi62.593
Malaysia49.4640
Mali57.4018
Malta35.89102
Mauritania46.9852
Mauritius56.3822
Mexico45.8059
Moldova47.8748
Mongolia53.8228
Montenegro41.2284
Morocco53.1229
Mozambique64.841
Myanmar50.5834
Namibia50.3236
Nepal47.9647
Netherlands28.10133
New Zealand31.34123
Nicaragua33.24117
Niger41.5581
Nigeria39.1590
Norway23.16138
Pakistan59.129
Palestine42.4774
Panama46.3556
Paraguay43.4667
Peru57.6417
Philippines59.218
Poland29.34128
Portugal52.0531
Romania41.1086
Russia36.6398
Rwanda46.1657
Saudi Arabia33.81111
Senegal58.8911
Serbia33.29116
Sierra Leone56.0024
Singapore20.15141
Slovakia32.81118
Slovenia37.5896
South Africa57.9615
South Korea46.6254
Spain45.5260
Sri Lanka39.1989
Swaziland59.247
Sweden18.75142
Switzerland31.32124
Taiwan41.4683
Tajikistan28.07134
Tanzania44.1164
Thailand38.5393
Gambia57.3719
Togo56.9620
Tunisia42.9671
Turkey46.5455
Turkmenistan30.68126
Uganda50.8233
Ukraine34.65106
United Arab Emirates28.59132
United Kingdom32.26120
United States34.10109
Uruguay41.4782
Uzbekistan21.66140
Venezuela57.6616
Vietnam44.4162
Yemen38.7791
Zambia58.7712
Zimbabwe47.3049

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