outline of the most important factors affecting Danish consumers' perception of food safety.
Denmark is a neighbor of Sweden. Danish politicians and the Danish media often compare Danish and Swedish conditions because both countries are very similar in a number of respects.
It is, therefore, natural for Danish consumers and their professional and industrial bodies to look at food safety conditions in Sweden and to make comparisons with conditions in Denmark. Over the past 30 years, Sweden has fought a very active battle against Salmonella in its livestock production. The occurrence of Salmonella in Swedish livestock production is close to nil, and, in reality, Swedish food products are considered to be Salmonella free. The use of antibiotic growth promoters has been banned since 1986, and the use of antibiotics for therapeutic purposes is heavily restricted. Finally, a number of special welfare requirements have been introduced in respect to livestock production in recent years, such as a minimum floor area per animal, which is approximately 30 percent larger than the Danish equivalent.
Danish consumers make certain requirements and have certain expectations of the meat they buy. The most important requirements are the following (as in Sweden):
an absence of zoonotic agents such as Salmonella;
an absence of chemical residues such as antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, etc.; and
a wish for good animal welfare throughout the life of the pig, including slaughtering.
Diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa are called zoonoses. Danes are very sensitive to the occurrence of zoonoses both in meat produced in Denmark and in imported meat. It is the general attitude among consumers that zoonotic agents must not be found in Danish food products. All Danish consumers know of Salmonella, and they know that the bacteria do occur in meat from time to time. In the past year, there has been considerable focus on the difference between the levels of Salmonella in Danish and imported meat. Danish meat has a very low prevalence of Salmonella in comparison with other countries, with the exception of the other Scandinavian countries. This has resulted in a demand for the testing of imported meat.
This trend was reinforced considerably in 1998, following increased focus on the multiresistant Salmonella typhimurium DT-104. DT-104 is typically