Consumers show trust in food chain

Consumer awareness of the use of vaccines on the UK's farm animals is on the rise, but concerns remain low, a survey has revealed.

A study, carried out by the Institute for Grocery Distribution (IGD) on behalf of the National Office for Animal Health (NOAH), revealed that 80% of consumers were now aware that medicines were given to treat sick animals, while 74% knew that animals are vaccinated to prevent disease, up from 58% two years ago. Yet the proportion of consumers having treatment or vaccination as their major concern remained low, at only 1% and 3% respectively.

Recent disease outbreaks, such as bluetongue and foot-and-mouth disease, may well have increased awareness of the use of vaccine, NOAH said. However, the survey did reveal a third of consumers were concerned that vaccines could be transferred into the food we eat.

Phil Sketchley, chief executive of NOAH, said: "This research confirms a good level of consumer trust in the food chain. But the concerns over vaccines and, in particular, the fears about residues in food, show we need to work with the organisations closest to shoppers to provide assurances on this issue."