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Risk Perception, Communication and Food Safety

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Lynn FrewerORCiD


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Developing an effective communication strategy about different food hazards depends not only on technical risk assessments (for example related to health or the environment) but must also take into account consumer perceptions and preferences. In addition, consumers make decisions about food choices or the acceptability of food processing technologies based on their assessment of both risks and benefits, which may include those related to socio-economic or ethical factors. Perceptions and priorities may vary both regionally and within the human life cycle. For example, health is a consumer priority, although the predominant issues of concern vary considerably according to local conditions. In Western and (in some sectors of) emerging economies, obesity continues to represent an important determinant of health. In addition, the ageing population in many countries means that diet may be linked to the development of healthy ageing trajectories, in particular associated with ensuring optimal quality of life through the entirety of the human life cycle. In other regions food security is a priority. Developing effective risk communication about food safety issues requires understanding of consumer perceptions, needs and behaviours and how these vary between different consumers. Risk (benefit) communication is likely to be most effective when targeted at specific groups of consumers with similar needs and interests. Understanding how individuals differ in, for example, their food safety information needs and preferences, how different individuals process food-related risk (and benefit) information, and how these may vary according to psychological and other individual differences will help risk communicators in developing and communicating their messages.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Frewer LJ

Editor(s): Alpas, H., Smith, M., Kulmyrzaev, A.

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: Strategies for Achieving Food Security in Central Asia

Year of Conference: 2012

Pages: 123-131

ISSN: 1871-4668

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/978-94-007-2502-7_11

Library holdings: Search Newcastle University Library for this item

Series Title: NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C-Environmental Security

ISBN: 9789400725010