VII Consumer perceptions
24. The meeting noted that the public tendency for taking various kinds of risk varied widely from society to society and between individuals depending on cultural, socio-economic and psychological factors. The meeting felt that in most cases the majority of consumers were not aware of, and hence not unduly concerned about, the safety and nutritional aspects of street foods. Rather, it is the taste and variety, appearance and price that plays the important role in the selection of food by consumers. Availability of food at convenient times and locations for the consumer are other very important factors. Discriminating consumers look for general cleanliness of street food vendors but this factor might not be a significant consideration when the total overall environment in which they operate is far from satisfactory.
25. The meeting felt that once consumers become aware of food safety issues and therefore more discriminating, and commence insisting on improved hygiene, sanitation and food handling practices, they could greatly influence vendors to improve their food handling practices. This could be achieved through consumer education in matters relating to food safety and nutrition. It therefore is the responsibility of national food control authorities, technical institutions and local health authorities to take the necessary action to increase consumer awareness of these matters.