Food safety is a right not a privilege - ROI

safefood research reveals over 50% of the population are reluctant to speak out if unhappy with food hygiene standards

29 October, 2007. Earlier today, safefood launched a new public awareness campaign designed to educate consumers about their rights with regard to food hygiene standards outside the home, and empower them to speak out if they are not satisfied. The campaign entitled ‘Speak Out’ was launched following new research that reveals consumers are reluctant to speak out if unhappy with the food hygiene standards experienced, when eating out¹. Endorsed by both the National Consumer Agency and Consumer Council for Northern Ireland, the ‘Speak Out’ campaign aims to raise the overall standards of food hygiene on the island of Ireland. 

Speaking at the launch of the campaign, Mr Martin Higgins, Chief Executive, safefood, said “Our research revealed that 53% of people feel reluctant to speak out if they are unhappy with food hygiene standards². Whether it’s grabbing a lunchtime sandwich, having a takeaway or visiting a restaurant, eating out has become increasingly part of our daily lives. As consumers, we can play our part too in ensuring the highest standards of food hygiene are met and this campaign will focus on educating and enabling consumers to trust their own instincts and make informed choices.”

The research conducted by safefood also revealed that 62% of consumers will not return to the food establishment if they experience poor food hygiene standards, and will most certainly tell others of their bad experience. 

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Ann Fitzgerald of the National Consumer Agency said, “The National Consumer Agency welcomes this important initiative by safefood. Consumers have a role in ensuring that best practice standards are adhered to in our catering establishments. Awareness of our consumer rights empowers us and I urge all consumers to seek high standards of hygiene and to speak out if they are not satisfied.”

A total of 273 closure orders have been served on food premises since 2000, these being served only when there is likely to be a grave and immediate danger to public health at, or in, the food premises.

Mr Higgins, continues, “While standards are generally high in the catering industry, there are concerns over the sustained level of closure orders in the retail catering sector. Consumers can play their part by speaking out and we hope our campaign will be of benefit to both consumers and the catering industry through even higher standards of excellence.”

The ‘Speak Out’ campaign will comprise three phases of activity, with the first phase being launched on 29th October for a two week burst on radio, with an outdoor campaign consisting of 6-sheets posted at bus-stops and other appropriate central locations, scheduled for November across the island of Ireland.

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For further information please contact

Kate Slattery / Niamh Burdett   
Tel: 01 6690030      
086 387 3803 (Kate) / 086 608 6764 (Niamh)

Fiona Gilligan
Tel: 01 4480060


  • ¹Safetrak Consumer Research, Amárach Consulting 2007
  • ²Safetrak Consumer Research, Amárach Consulting 2007
  • ³Safetrak Consumer Research, Amárach Consulting 2007
  • Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) Closure Orders, 2000-2006