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Food Safety, Tasmania
 
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    NAME OF ORGANISATION
    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

    OVERVIEW
    This once-only survey was conducted to obtain information on food safety issues associated with food testing, food purchasing, food handling in the home, food illness and domestic water supplies. Data was collected for the usually resident civilian population aged 15 and over. (Special dwellings and visitors to private dwellings were excluded.)

    It was conducted as a supplementary to the October 1996 Monthly Labour Force Survey.

    Information collected comprised:

    • safety of food products;
    • attitudes to public health procedures;
    • incidence of food poisoning;
    • household food-hygiene practices; and
    • domestic water supply quality.

    Results were released in October 1997 in the form of a publication (Food Safety, Tasmania, ABS Cat No. 4344.6) and in additional user tables. In some cases, additional unpublished cross-classifications of data items are available. Estimates were published for persons and for households (for data relating to household water supply).

    PURPOSE
    The survey will provide data on people's attitudes to health issues and aspects of their lifestyle. These data are critical for the planning and monitoring of current health strategies. The data are also necessary for the development and implementation of future health promotion and prevention strategies and campaigns.

    Data will be used by individuals and bodies such as private and public health organisations at local and national levels, educational institutions, community groups, and government departments and agencies to:
    • monitor food safety understanding in the community;
    • assist in developing food safety policy;
    • facilitate planning and promotion in the field of food safety; and
    • assist with the design of food and water-related illness prevention programs.

    Specifically, the State Department of Community and Health Services intends to use the data for:
    • service planning;
    • reviewing and redeveloping State Health Goals and Targets;
    • identifying priority intervention areas (e.g. health promotions or legislative change); and
    • supporting the need for new initiatives funding.

    SCOPE
    The Food Safety Survey was conducted as supplementary to the Monthly Labour Force Survey. For the Food Safety Survey, all usual residents of private dwellings aged 15 years and over were in scope. Special dwellings and visitors to private dwellings were excluded.

    Other normal Labour Force exclusions apply to scope and coverage, for example:
    • members of the permanent defence forces;
    • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated populations;
    • overseas residents in Australia;
    • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia; and
    • Jervis Bay Territory.

    In the Labour Force Survey, coverage rules are applied that aim to ensure that each person is associated with only one dwelling, and hence has only one chance of selection. The chance of a person being enumerated at two separate dwellings in the one survey is considered to be negligible.

    DATA DETAIL

    Conceptual framework
    As the data were collected as supplementary to the Monthly Labour Force Survey, some data can be cross-classified with data from that Labour Force Survey. For example:

    • Age;
    • Sex;
    • Employment status; and,
    • Full-time/part-time employment status.

    Main outputs
    Results from the survey available in a publication (Food Safety, Tasmania, ABS Cat No. 4344.6) and in additional user tables. In some cases, additional unpublished cross-classifications of data items will be available.

    Population:
    • Tasmanian civilian population aged 15 and over; and
    • households for issues of household water quality.

    The main data items:
    • attitudes to safety of Tasmanian food in general;
    • attitude to maintenance of food safety by manufacturers
    • attitude to maintenance of food safety by food sellers;
    • attitudes to food premises' inspection and food testing;
    • general concerns about food safety;
    • concerns about safety of takeaway foods;
    • concerns about safety of food sold from self-serve salad bars;
    • regularity of purchasing foods that have been reduced in price for a quick sale;
    • action if purchased food that was then found to be unfit to eat;
    • attitudes to safety of household food;
    • food preparation practices thawing food, washing utensils, storing food, cooking red meat and poultry, washing hands, and drying dishes;
    • illness occurrence in the last 3 months attributed to food or non-alcoholic drinks, visit to a doctor and confirmation of illness;
    • source of household drinking water; and
    • attitudes towards drinking water safety and water quality.

    Data breakdowns: data will be disaggregated at the Tasmanian level. Further disaggregation include age and sex; and for drinking water, statistical division and urban/rural split.

    Classifications
    A. Classifications from the Monthly Labour Force Survey

    • Employment status
    • Full-time/part-time status
    • Personal characteristics: age, sex
    • Geography: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC)

    B. Main classifications from the Food Safety Survey

    Food concerns (general).
    • Nutritional value fat content, nutrients etc. Does not include additives.
    • Amount/variety balance of diet, overeating etc.
    • Price
    • Bacteria
    • Chemicals/pesticides used in growth of plants or animals
    • Contamination foreign matter etc.
    • Additives preservatives, flavourings, enhancers, items added in processing
    • Freshness of the food includes concerns about use-by dates
    • Storage how bought food is stored, how it has been stored previously
    • Other

    Foods considered more likely than others to pose a health risk.
    • Takeaway/restaurant food includes fish and chip shops.
    • Red meat
    • Scalefish
    • Shellfish
    • Poultry
    • Pork
    • Dairy foods
    • Processed meat
    • Canned/frozen food
    • Other

    Takeaway food concerns.
    • Freshness of the food
    • Nutritional value/composition of food includes concerns about what is in the food (ingredients), as well as fat content, nutrients etc.
    • Temperature of food e.g. too hot, too cold, re-heating
    • Food preparation/handling methods food handling by employees, overcooking,
    • Cleanliness of the person serving
    • Cleanliness of the food preparation area
    • Cleanliness of equipment
    • Cleanliness of the shop
    • Amount/variety/price
    • Other

    Self-serve salad bar concerns.
    • Freshness of the food
    • Nutritional value/composition of food includes concerns about what is in the food (ingredients), as well as fat content, nutrients.
    • Exposure to air refers to any contamination of the food (e.g. bacteria) as a result of that food being exposed to air.
    • Handling by customers
    • Price
    • Cleanliness of the shop
    • Cleanliness of equipment/serving area includes equipment used in preparing food and serving food (e.g. salad bowls, spoons)
    • Food handling practices of seller includes preparation of food by seller, cleanliness of seller.
    • Other

    Action that would take if purchased food that was then found unfit to eat.
    This was a hypothetical question, not necessarily based on experience. Categories included:
    • Contact the Health Department
    • Contact your local council
    • Return the food and complain
    • Contact the shop and complain
    • Ask for a refund
    • Throw away the food and take no further action
    • Other

    Action taken if, in the last 3 months, purchased food that was then found unfit to eat.
    • Contact the Health Department
    • Contact your local council
    • Return the food and complain
    • Contact the shop and complain
    • Ask for a refund
    • Throw away the food and take no further action
    • Other

    Main source of household drinking water
    • Mains (Council)
    • Tank/roof water
    • River or creek
    • Commercially bottled
    • Other

    Treatment of drinking water
    • Boil
    • Filter
    • Chlorinate
    • Fluoridate
    • Other

    Other concepts (summary)
    Food safety

    Safe:
    food that is free from agents which may cause disease, particularly food poisoning

    Food sellers:
    comprises any establishment that sells food (e.g. supermarkets, takeaway shops/vans, restaurants, bakeries)

    Food testing:
    refers to government tests.

    Takeaway foods:
    foods bought ready to eat, which have been prepared by the seller.

    Self-serve salad bars:
    comprise those located at all types of retail outlet (e.g. supermarkets, restaurants, takeaway shops).

    Foods reduced in price for a quick sale:
    comprises food purchased at retail outlets (e.g. supermarkets, butcheries, bakeries). It does not include takeaway food.

    Food unfit to eat:
    comprises food purchased but not consumed because the purchaser decided that it was unfit to eat.

    Food prepared in own home:
    comprises food prepared in the home in general rather than food prepared by a specific person in the home.

    Meat that is still red after cooking:
    refers to meat that is still red in the middle after cooking.

    Washing shopping boards and knives between using for different types of food:
    refers to different food groups (e.g. vegetables/meat/dairy products). Preparing 2 different types of vegetables does not constitute 2 different types of food.

    GEOGRAPHIC DETAIL
    Tasmania
    Statistical Division

    Comments and/or Other Regions
    not applicable

    COLLECTION FREQUENCY
    Once Only

    Frequency comments
    not applicable

    COLLECTION HISTORY
    Not applicable. This is a once-only survey.

    DATA AVAILABILITY
    Yes

    Data availability comments
    Publication released on 1 October 1997.


    DATE OF LAST UPDATE FOR THIS DOCUMENT
    03/05/2002 11:10 AM



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