Pesticides, avian influenza and residues in meat top the list of consumer concerns about the food they eat, according to a new poll commissioned by the European Food Safety Authority and the EU Commission.

Major food crises of recent years, such as BSE and dioxin, do not seem to be “top-of-mind” when EU consumers are asked about the food safety issues that concern them.

Generally the survey found that consumers were relatively relaxed about food safety.

Taste and pleasure were much more important considerations.

But it did reveal divisions in public opinion over whether the food industry’s safety record was getting better, with 38% saying things had improved over the past 10 years and 28% saying they had got worse.

When it came to sources of information, consumer groups and doctors were the most trusted, while farmers, processors and retailers were identified as the least trustworthy.

Over 40% said they tended to ignore food scare stories in the media.