Compendium of food statistics 2020
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The promotion of good food safety behaviours throughout the food chain is reliant on a scientifically robust and accurate evidence base. This not only includes information on consumer behaviour and preferences in regard to the foods they eat, but also accurate statistics on food production, trade and economics, and information on food product recalls, food-borne illness, the impact of external influences such as climate change, and the extent and nature of food fraud.
A broad spectrum of public and private sector organisations are involved in the generation of this data which remains fragmented and in many cases difficult to access. In both jurisdictions, there are a number of agencies and bodies responsible for collecting and collating agri-food statistics, while statistical data pertaining to Northern Ireland is frequently amalgamated with data from mainland Britain to present UK-wide statistical data as a whole.
The potential for divergence in agricultural and food policy between the UK (including Northern Ireland) and the European Union (including the Republic of Ireland) has meant that the ability to source reliable statistics on the food chain in both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland is taking on a new importance, especially for organisaions who operate in both jurisdictions. This includes safefood, the Food Safety Promotion Board, whose key and primary function is the promotion of good food safety behaviours across the whole food chain. Currently, both food safety regimes are harmonised under EU-based agri-food policy and legislation. The potential divergence of the UK from this will present new challenges for many stakeholders for whom a comprehensive and accessible resource on up-to-date food chain statistics would be of immense benefit.
It is in this context that safefood commissioned this project to generate a compendium of the most up-to-date food chain statistics for both the Republic and Northern Ireland. The compendium is in a format that can be updated on an annual basis, and supplemented with trend data where feasible. The data has already been published from a variety of other sources (referenced) to which the reader should refer if they require greater context or a broader perspective of the overall issues.safefood wishes to thank the Principal Researcher on this project, Dr Karen Clarke, Director with Ipsos MORI in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and her colleagues, particularly Dr Sinéad Furey of the Ulster University Business School, who worked on this project